Law Enforcement and Technology: Using Social Media [January 11, 2022]   [open pdf - 1MB]

From the Summary: "As the ways in which individuals interact continue to evolve, social media has had an increasing role in facilitating communication and the sharing of content online--including moderated and unmoderated, user-generated content. Over 70% of U.S. adults are estimated to have used social media in 2021. Law enforcement has also turned to social media to help in its operations. Broadly, law enforcement relies on social media as a tool for information sharing as well as for gathering information to assist in investigations. [...] At the federal level, there is no specific legislative framework that governs law enforcement use of social media. Rather, there are laws and policies governing law enforcement investigations and intelligence gathering broadly. Some observers, however, have questioned whether the nature of social media may place it in a qualitatively different category than law enforcement's use of other investigative tools and have suggested that there should be enhanced boundaries with respect to law enforcement operations in these online spaces. For instance, some have suggested that law enforcement agencies should have written, publicly available policies on their use of social media; they should obtain local government approval before using these online spaces; they should obtain judicial approval for conducting undercover operations using social media; there should be restrictions on law enforcement contacting minors via social media; and law enforcement's use of social media should be audited. Policymakers may consider these issues as they conduct oversight or debate legislation on law enforcement use of social media."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R47008
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
Media Type:
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