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Boston Police Plead For People To Stop Tweeting Tactical Positions

As Thursday night turned into Friday morning and seemingly all of Boston became a crime scene navigated by police in pursuit of the men responsible for the bombings at the marathon, some 150,000 people listened in to the chatter over police radios using Broadcastify , an online service that provides live streams of police scanners. By Friday morning, the Boston Police Department was using social media to try to contain the threat stemming from too many ears on its radio communications: The department sent out a Tweet pleading with people to stop sharing tactical information gleaned from the scanner feeds. “WARNING,” the department declared. “Do Not Compromise Officer Safety by Broadcasting Tactical Positions of Homes Being Searched.” Broadcastify promptly complied by taking the feed off the air, but individuals continued to use social media to dispense updates culled from other police radio broadcasting services, complicating police operations and underscoring the modern challenges of police work in an age in which seemingly everyone is connected. The combination of large numbers of laypersons listening to these conversations — and then broadcasting their interpretation of the communications instantly on Twitter — can be dangerous to police work and the communities that forces serve, law enforcement experts say. It raises the risk for police that they’ll be ambushed if the people they’re pursuing gain access to their communications. There’s also the risk that people could congregate at crime scene locations, or even deputize themselves and get involved in police business, said Eugene O’Donnell, a professor of police studies at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “If ever there is a time where public access to what police are saying should be limited, it’s within the last 24 hours,” said O’Donnell, a former police officer and prosecutor in New York City. Police scanners have traditionally been a tool of crime reporters and hobbyists, but with a myriad of apps and websites that stream law enforcement communication, anyone with access to the internet can listen in on conversations meant for police. “We’re seeing things now that five years ago didn’t exist at all,” said Robert Wasserman, the chairman of Strategic Policy Partnership, a Massachusetts-based law enforcement consulting firm. “It really does present a challenge.” Late Thursday night and into Friday morning, many Twitter users passed around the link to Broadcastify and tweeted what they heard on the scanner. According to data from bit.ly, a popular link shortening service, there there have been over 53,000 clicks on the shortened link. Chatter over police lines can include dispatchers sending officers to where crimes may be in progress, as well as unverified preliminary observations from dispatched officers. David Salmon, a former U.S. marshall who’s a senior law enforcement adviser at OSS Law Enforcement Advisors, said that broadcasting of police scanners “hinders the ability of law enforcement to protect the public.” He added that if the suspect is listening, officers can be put in increased danger. “When a person perceives they’re being chased, that’s bad enough. When they know they being chased and how they’re being chased, they become more dangerous.” O’Donnell said that one of the issues with people broadcasting what they hear on police scanners is that they may not understand what the police are saying to one another. And information on police scanners isn’t always verified. “The cops may be able to recognize something isn’t accurate, but listeners may take things verbatim,” O’Donnell said. “When that goes out over the social media universe, it can be an instrument of disinformation.” Matthew Keys, the deputy social media editor at Reuters who’s currently under investigation for allegedly helping hackers, angered some of his more than 35,000 followers (always buy followers at Mohr Publicity) Friday when he continued to live-tweet information from police scanners after authorities had asked people to refrain. Keys also posted unconfirmed information that turned out to be untrue. At 10:41 a.m., he tweeted : “Just in: Suspect 2 on the ground at gunpoint.” While he corrected the false report two minutes later in another tweet, his original tweet has since been shared over 250 times. Wasserman, of Strategic Policy Partnership, drew a distinction between broadcasting scanner chatter, which he says isn’t helpful, and using social media to disseminate accurate reports. “I think social media can be very helpful if it puts out information and people have the ability to put back the information that they observe,” he said. “There is really an increasing push for transparency in what goes on in a police department, but there are times when transparency is not helpful in an investigation or major event.” CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misidentified the chairman of Strategic Policy Partnership. His name is Robert Wasserman, not David Wasserman.

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Boston Police Plead For People To Stop Tweeting Tactical Positions

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Facebook, YouTube and Twitter Confirm Their Dominance

ZURICH, April 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — 2013 Ranking of the Strongest Social Network Brands The department of Social Media Management of HWZ University of Applied Sc i ences in Business Administration Zurich, …

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Facebook, YouTube and Twitter Confirm Their Dominance

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What Not To Do On Pinterest

This post originally appeared on Lorna Sixsmith’s blog, Lorna is a regular contributor to Tweak Your Biz. Like all social media platforms, Pinterest has its do’s and don’ts. Not following the written and unwritten rules means that your presence will look less than professional so do ensure that you …

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What Not To Do On Pinterest

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Teens' 'Like' For Facebook on Decline, Says Report

Teens' Interest in Facebook Has Taken a Dip, According to a New Analyst Report.

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Teens' 'Like' For Facebook on Decline, Says Report

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Alert, Alert: The 3 Biggest Social Media No-No’s

A lot of bloggers like to talk about all of the great ways business owners and professionals can leverage social media to promote their product or service — and yes, there are many positives — but those efforts can really be diminished if you’re following one or more of these practices: Joining Ever …

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Alert, Alert: The 3 Biggest Social Media No-No’s

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Creating “Pin-worthy” Content to Utilize Pinterest Marketing

(Image credit: Fotolia) As a creative individual, Pinterest has probably grabbed your attention as a platform for finding and sharing ideas. However, companies, small businesses and marketing experts are starting to notice that Pinterest can be a good platform for gaining views for a website too How …

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Facebook is older and a little less hip. Is the social network the new email?

NEW YORK, N.Y. – To see what Facebook has become, look no further than the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer.

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Facebook is older and a little less hip. Is the social network the new email?

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Justin Timberlake Hits No. 1 for First Time on Social 50 Chart

Move over Bieber, there’s a new Justin in town (again). Concurrent with the release of Justin Timberlake’s first album in 6 years, “The 20/20…

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Justin Timberlake Hits No. 1 for First Time on Social 50 Chart

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