QuickTips

What LEOs Must Know about New Facebook Privacy Settings

There’s good news and bad in the new Facebook policies, and much left to be seen

Facebook has made some significant changes to privacy settings. They’re rolling them out to all users over the next few days and weeks, and some of it is good news! But let’s start with the bad news.

Facebook is eliminating our ability to take ourselves out of public search. This is the checkbox that, when selected, prevented your Facebook profile from showing up in searches when the person doing the searching was using a search engine outside of Facebook.

When thinking of your personal profiles on Facebook–the ones you don’t use for police work–it might be a good idea to make a slight name change and rethink whether you want to post yourself in a profile photo.

Janita Docherty, a law enforcement professional in Australia is a leading authoring on officer safety on Facebook. She offers alternative advice as well.

“Click on your Profile picture–it will open to a larger view of the picture–under your name click on the audience icon, which is likely to be a World globe. … This will open a drop down box–change this to ‘Friends.'”

This doesn’t take it away from public view but sets it so your photo isn’t viewable as a larger image to anyone but your friends. It also prevents non-friends from seeing comments associated with it. Docherty adds, “It is imperative that police members who have a Facebook account do what they can to further protect themselves online. This action may also help safeguard the accounts of family and friends.”

There’s good news though and the best part for officer safety is that officers now have more control over photos other people post of them online. Facebook is giving us a Request and Removal tool. Within the “Photos of You” tab, Facebook is providing a direct to the poster tool to request photos be removed complete with a spot to explain why. If that doesn’t work, the same tool will allow us to remove tags of ourselves from multiple photos all at once.

Additionally, there’s a new shortcut to privacy settings. It’ll appear in the upper right corner next to “home” as shown in the image included here.

These changes will be rolling out between now and the end of the year. But, there’s more to these privacy changes. For details, see news of the changes directly from Facebook here.

This Social Media Quick Tip was previously published on LawOfficer.com.

Social Media Quick Tip: Managing the message in an emergency

During an emergency situation, ensure that the social media message is delivered through one source

Editor’s note: The SMILE (Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference provides officers with all the technical hands-on skills and the practical knowledge to utlitze social media platforms for public outreach, crime prevention and forensics. The conference is a great opportunity for those involved in social media efforts to share suggestions and stories on this ever-changing topic. Below you will find social media tips from one of the speakers at the conference.

The use of social media and policing isn’t an option, it’s a necessity. Today’s police need to adapt and utilize social media in order to stay in touch with today’s online community, as well as make themselves available.

The use of social media during emergency management situations, whether it be natural disaster, large scale demonstration, terrorist attack or simply everyday emergency calls by front line police, need to be managed and monitored by policing agencies. The usage of social media during these situations not only alerts the public as to where they can get help, but also where they can locate loved ones, how to report and how to prevent disasters.

In order to do this effectively, the most important thing I can suggest is during an emergency situation, ensure that the message is delivered through one source. Too many sources can cause confusion with the message and potentially cause a broken telephone effect. Ensure the information that you want delivered is being delivered, and that your message is being heard.

Constable Nathan Dayler has been employed as a police officer for the Toronto Police Service for 10 years. Nathan’s current assignment is a full time Tactical Trainer for the Public Safety and Emergency Management Unit of the Toronto Police specifically the Crowd Management Section. Nathan is also the Social Media representative for the Toronto Police Public Order Section and was a member of the Social Media Workgroup for the Toronto Police Service. Previously, Nathan spent five years with the Sex Crimes Unit working as an Online Undercover officer within the Child Exploitation Unit, as well as with the Special Victims Section.

Social Media Quick Tip: Twitter Adds Header Images

It’s prime real estate to show off your department

Not to be confused with your background image or Twitter avatar, now you can add a header photo to your Twitter profile. Think of it as similar to the Facebook cover photo that came out with the Timeline. In both cases, it’s prime real estate to show off your department. Check out Rapid City PD on Twitter.

Just go into your settings and click design, and then scroll down and you’ll see the option to add a header image. Upload the image and click save changes.

One downside is that you have to get the dimensions right. Use a 72 dpi (dots per inch) image that’s at least 1252 x 626. Twitter allows you to enlarge the image and some rudimentary centering ability. The other downside is your Twitter stats and bio are centered on the photo in white. Keep that in mind when choosing a photo so the info doesn’t get lost in the background.

If you want to do something more creative with your Twitter header, here are some ideas from Mashable.

This Social Media Quick Tip was previously published on LawOfficer.com

Social Media Quick Tip: How you & your agency can stay safe while using social media

Staying safe online is about connecting and sharing with those you trust

Editor’s note: The SMILE (Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference provides officers with all the technical hands-on skills and the practical knowledge to utlitze social media platforms for public outreach, crime prevention and forensics. The conference is a great opportunity for those involved in social media efforts to share suggestions and stories on this ever-changing topic. Below you will find social media tips from one of the speakers at the conference.

The world of social media has opened another sphere in regards to safety and reputation management. These days you don’t need an online account to experience the emotional impact of digital abuse. These incidents can appear without warning and have a devastating effect on the lives of your family and friends.

Staying safe online is about connecting and sharing with those you trust. These tips can help deter bad experiences and give support if issues arise.

• If you’re new to social media, take your time to learn about the site and locate the report/block options.
• Talk with family and friends on what part they play regarding posting online, especially as it may reflect on you.
• Check your account and security settings.
• Turn off GPS and Facial Recognition capabilities.
• Set up Google Alerts in your name and rank.
• Stay educated by signing up with trusted sites for the latest information and tips to keep you safer online.

Janita Docherty is a trained Crime Prevention Executive with more than 18 years experience in the field of law and criminal investigation. She specialises in Facebook and Internet Safety instruction and is recognised for her work with law enforcement Units dedicated in the fields of E-Crime, Sex Crime, State Intelligence and Tactical Intelligence areas. Janita has an intricate knowledge on the workings of Facebook from a criminal intelligence perspective and is a leader in her field regarding Facebook training to Police and specialist law enforcement departments both in Australia and the United States.

Social Media Quick Tip: Collaborating for success

Why it’s important for the different departments at your agency to work together in order to present a cohesive service to the public

Editor’s note: The SMILE (Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference provides officers with all the technical hands-on skills and the practical knowledge to utlitze social media platforms for public outreach, crime prevention and forensics. The conference is a great opportunity for those involved in social media efforts to share suggestions and stories on this ever-changing topic. Below you will find social media tips from one of the speakers at the conference.

Social media is all about collaboration. Pretty much every business area within law enforcement is touched in some way by social media, so don’t just single out one department to deal with it–work together holistically within your organization to present a cohesive service to the public, partners and other agencies. Whether you work in investigation, community policing, corporate communication or customer service, you all need to work together on making the best use of social media.

Christine Townsend is a police communications professional with experience of working for four police forces in the UK (Kent, Surrey, Sussex and City of London). She is also a Special Constable (volunteer police officer) in Roads Policing and has eight years service. She is a qualified police trainer and specialises in helping organisations embed social media in communications and intelligence and investigation functions in law enforcement. She founded KBC Media, a small digital communications consultancy firm, in 2011 and continues to work closely with police forces both in the UK and further afield.

Social Media Quick Tip: Be the official source of information in a crisis

If you aren’t already on social media when a crisis hits, there’s a whole conversation that’s happening without you & you can’t afford not to be listening & participating

Editor’s note: The SMILE (Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference provides officers with all the technical hands-on skills and the practical knowledge to utlitze social media platforms for public outreach, crime prevention and forensics. The conference is a great opportunity for those involved in social media efforts to share suggestions and stories on this ever-changing topic. Below you will find social media tips from one of the speakers at the conference.

1. If you’re already on social media, you likely already know who your influencers and detractors are. Your influencers are the people that follow or “like” you that have a large following and tend to re-tweet your messages or make positive comments on your posts. Your detractors are those that continually counteract your social media efforts through negative or harmful comments. Keep track of both groups and keep a list of them handy. In a crisis situation, you’ll want to reach out to your influencers to increase the reach of your messaging. You’ll also want to monitor your detractors to ensure they aren’t sabotaging your communication efforts.

2. If you’re a police agency, people on social media are talking about you. If you aren’t already on social media when a crisis hits, there’s a whole conversation that’s happening without you and you can’t afford not to be listening and participating. In a crisis, social media is becoming the primary place where people go to look for information, and if you aren’t there putting out official messaging, someone else will do it for you–and their information may not be accurate. Be the official source of information in a crisis by building your audience and credibility when the waters are calm. Prep your key messages (think 140 characters or less!) and have a crisis communication plan so you can make it through the storm unscathed.

Stephanie Mackenzie-Smith is the Corporate Communications Supervisor at York Regional Police in Ontario where she is responsible for the branding, marketing and online strategy of the 2,000 member police service. Her role includes strategic communications planning and the development of crisis communication plans, best practices documents and standard operating procedures as they relate to social media. She also teaches Media Relations Officers and Public Information Officers on social media use at the Ontario Police College and regularly presents on social media policy, procedure and misconduct. Stephanie holds a Bachelor of Journalism degree from Ryerson University.

Social Media Quicktip: Sgt Rhonda Leipelt on communicating your mission

How do you translate a broad mission statement & a global department philosophy into rapid fire messages for the social media arena?

Editor’s note: The SMILE (Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference provides officers with all the technical hands-on skills and the practical knowledge to utlitze social media platforms for public outreach, crime prevention and forensics. The conference is a great opportunity for those involved in social media efforts to share suggestions and stories on this ever-changing topic.

I remember distinctly when my captain called me up one day in 2011 and said I needed to start a Twitter account for the PD. I had no idea what a Tweet was, let alone how to be the 140-character or less spokesperson for our agency. My sergeant-manager brain was pondering, “How am I supposed to translate a broad mission statement and a global department philosophy into rapid fire messages in the real time social media arena?” However, the more influential side of my brain that liked a paycheck was thinking, “How do I do this without getting in trouble?” I was all alone back then, but time and a lot of begging eventually led to our current social media team of 10 dedicated sworn and non-sworn staff members. Here are the best tips I can offer to folks starting out for their agency.

1. Be honest and sincere. Remember: Fear of the uncontrollable is your worst enemy and there’s no OPS plan or ICS structure that covers how to talk to the public. If you’re an executive, pick a lead person you trust and who’s a department cheerleader, then let them go. If you trust them with a gun and arrest powers, give them the freedom and support to find the best voice for the organization with your input. If you’re selected to be a “content manager,” know from the minute you go live you’re going to make mistakes.

2. The best way to learn is to fail. So when you fail, learn from it and then let it go. Typos, bad grammar, lack of region knowledge, not responding or breaking site-specific culture rules will generate haters, so try to control the things you really do have some power over. However, if you do upset the apple cart, apologize and move on.

3. You’re not alone out there so reach out and network so you have mentors.You’ll never learn more than when you hear what other agencies have found out the hard way. Shared policies, pitfalls, wins, losses, best practices, legal issues, best vendors, collaborating with private companies. Yes, there’s great strength and wisdom in numbers.

4. Never be afraid to respond to postings on your own sites–see rule 1 and respond. Yes, people will post angry, sarcastic and judgmental messages. Find some way to respond respectfully so they know the message was received and that you’re not afraid to respond. Have a cache of innocuous and neutral messages ready to use or search the Internet for an appropriate quote to send.

5. Relax and have some fun because the community really does like law enforcement. I have to admit that my social media adventures have been the most fun I have had in many years because the vast majority of the exchanges are positive. Hearing the community support and showing our staff how they feel is very rewarding and reminds me every day of why I chose this profession.

Social Media Quicktip: Citizens play a big role in policing social media

Editor’s note: The SMILE (Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference provides officers with all the technical hands-on skills and the practical knowledge to utlitze social media platforms for public outreach, crime prevention and forensics. The conference is a great opportunity for those involved in social media efforts to share suggestions and stories on this ever-changing topic. Below you will find social media tips from one of the speakers at the conference.

Social media has truly become the new form of communication for most people. Whether it’s simply to share pictures and innocuous thoughts with friends or as serious as a cry for help, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, message boards, blogs and so many other online platforms are the way for people in the 21st century to communicate their thoughts.

Although this can be helpful in thwarting a crisis, i.e. a student tweets that they are bringing a gun to school, posts of that nature are often disregarded by online “friends” as meaningless venting. In an era where outsourcing safety procedures to citizens is the norm (i.e. the “See Something, Say Something” campaign), it’s time for citizens–particularly parents, teachers and the youth–to be educated on spotting problem posts on social media. Suspicious posts must be taken as seriously as suspicious packages. Of course some posts will inevitably sneak through the cracks (as will some packages), but concerned citizens can play a bigger role in policing social media, not just by reporting problematic videos, but individual behaviors as well.

Alix Levine is the owner of WEBehavior LLC and the director of research for Cronus Global, both security consulting firms. She specializes in the study of homegrown extremism and online mobilization. Alix writes on a variety of terror-related issues, including the ideologies, activities and tactics of domestic and international terrorist movements, and in particular their online activity. Al Qaeda has directly referenced her work. Alix works closely with law enforcement on terror-related investigations and provides training and analysis for the law enforcement community. She received her master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University and speaks Arabic and Hebrew.

Social Media QuickTip: Consider creating a news blog for your organization

Editor’s note: The SMILE (Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference provides officers with all the technical hands-on skills and the practical knowledge to utlitze social media platforms for public outreach, crime prevention and forensics. The conference is a great opportunity for those involved in social media efforts to share suggestions and stories on this ever-changing topic. Below you will find social media tips from one of the speakers at the conference.

Consider creating a news blog for your organization. We use Tumblr to create a blog for larger disasters that happen in Virginia. We simply link to the blog from our agency’s website and promote it using social media. It has cut down the number of news releases that we distribute and gives the media easy access to updated information. The blog format gives us flexibility to post short or long pieces of information, photos, video, audio and maps. Information can even be posted using mobile devices. Most blog platforms can be set up to feed information to Twitter and Facebook.

Bob Spieldenner manages the agency’s media relations, disaster communications and public education efforts. Bob has worked in ten federally declared disasters and numerous emergencies. He helped establish and lead a joint information center at Virginia Tech after the April 2007 shooting. In addition, Bob managed Virginia’s joint information centers for Hurricane Isabel in 2003, Election Day 2008 and the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. Prior to joining VDEM, Bob managed national public education campaigns and served as primary spokesperson for the United Network for Organ Sharing, which coordinates the national organ transplant system. He began his public relations career at the Virginia Dept of Transportation.

Social Media Quicktip: CI Josh Maxwell on emergency response

Hh3>Chief Inspector Josh Maxwell gives advice on how social media can benefit emergency responses.

Editor’s note: The SMILE (Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference provides officers with all the technical hands-on skills and the practical knowledge to utlitze social media platforms for public outreach, crime prevention and forensics. The conference is a great opportunity for those involved in social media efforts to share suggestions and stories on this ever-changing topic. Below you will find social media tips from one of the speakers at the conference.

Policing (encompassing the management of emergencies) the future society (of NSW and Australasia) requires a radical shift in strategic planning. For a number of years, police agencies world-wide have grappled with a world that’s in a continual state of change and with advancements in technologies that assist in the detection and prosecution of offenders. Yet, it’s argued we have yet to harness these technologies in crime prevention and preparing our communities for emergencies and disaster.

With the advent and success of the “eyewatch” program, now more than ever it’s argued that the NSW police force and all law enforcement and emergency service agencies need to harness the power of social media. Here are some ways social media can benefit your department and public safety as a whole.

Planning & Preparation
• Community engagement in emergencies: Build the audience and prepare them for emergencies.
• Dissemination of accurate and timely information in preparation for any emergency and crisis.
• Build community confidence that agencies are prepared and capable.
• Build trust between the community and public safety.

Response
• Emergency and crisis management: Manage community expectations with real-time warnings and information.
• Build resilience. Don’t rely on websites alone; use a variety of social media platforms.
• Police and emergency resource management: What are police and emergency services doing? Embed confidence in the community so that they feel that they are not alone.
• Provide real-time information about the disaster and emergency 24/7.

Recovery
• Real-time information: Provide details on recovery processes and on what’s being done by whom.
• Manage expectations.

Chief Inspector Josh Maxwell has been a police officer in NSW for 22 years, with his career covering General Duties, Plainclothes and Investigations, Public Order and Firearms and Operational Safety Instructional duties. He has been involved in tactical, operational and strategic command of major incidents and police operations as well as education delivery, administration, human resource management and leadership. Chief Inspector Maxwell is currently the Project Manager for Project “eyewatch” – New South Wales Police Force.