How Social Media Platforms Are Increasingly Being Used for Crime

social media used for crime

The prevalence of social media in society is obvious every time you walk down the street and see people fully engaged with their cell phones. There are approximately 3.5 billion social media users across the world who log onto sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat every day. But while social media sites are very popular, they’ve also led to an unwelcome increase in social media-based crimes and criminal activity.

What Crimes Are Being Committed on Social Media?

Social media has become a place where everyday life is taking place. From wishing a neighbor happy birthday to sending a payment for a service, the do-it-all platforms allow users to accomplish quite a bit. Unfortunately, the advanced technology offered by social media platforms is also being used for harmful purposes as well. A variety of crimes are committed every day on social media platforms, including:  

  • Hacking and fraudulent activity
  • Cyberbullying and stalking
  • Purchase of illegal goods and services
  • Home robberies 

Recently in Florida, a man’s home was burglarized after he posted the amount of money he recently made from his home-based business. This and each of the other crimes mentioned above are extremely serious. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to track some online crimes back to the person who committed them, especially crimes such as hacking and fraud. Any person who has information regarding crimes committed via social media should immediately contact local law enforcement. Likewise, victims of social media crimes should seek guidance from a trusted local attorney to aid them in pressing charges against the offender.

Live Streaming Criminal Activity is a Serious Issue

One of the most prevalent social media crimes is live-streaming violent crimes via social media platforms. In 2017, four teens were arrested after live-streaming themselves torturing another teen. That same year, the murder of a 74-year-old Ohio man was live-streamed via Facebook and the offender was arrested. Unfortunately, these types of violent crimes are not uncommon. Teens and adults alike rely on social media as a form of entertainment and criminals play into that concept, seeking attention for their illegal activities. 

Live streaming violent crimes is now a serious issue, and today more and more policymakers and state legislators have called on social media companies to help stop this from happening. Companies like Facebook are responding by stepping up to the plate and creating technology and task forces to help identify and pull criminal videos as quickly as possible. This advanced technology and initiative will play a role in helping to identify a mass shooting before it occurs.

What are the Penalties for Social Media-Based Crimes?

In the state of Florida, there are no specific laws regarding social media-based crimes. Offenders who commit crimes using social media platforms or who stream crimes via those platforms are subject to the same severe penalties as other criminal offenders. Crimes committed on social media can be considered misdemeanors or charged as felonies. Common penalties for criminals who commit crimes on social media include:

  • Misdemeanor Crimes: Fines up to $1,000 or one year of incarceration
  • Felony Crimes: Fines up to $10,000 or life in prison.

It’s important to understand that social media can be used as evidence in a case. When a crime is committed using social media or on social media, it creates lasting evidence that cannot be permanently erased. 

Trust a Knowledgeable Orlando Attorney With Your Social Media Crime Case

If you or someone you know is the victim of social media-based criminal activity, it’s time to call a trusted attorney to help. The right attorney will work with you to understand your case and help you win the justice you deserve. 

At The Umansky Law Firm, we are experienced former prosecutors who offer a unique point of view for every case. We don’t want you to let your life get defined by a single event and we’re committed to helping you through your case. We will take the time to get to know you and the details of your situation before developing a strategy. 


If you live in or around the Orlando, Florida area, call to schedule your free consultation and speak with a live attorney today. Our office phone number is 407-228-3838 or you can contact us online. We are waiting to help you move forward.