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The long-term effects of social networking have yet to fully materialize. But as people seamlessly integrate their online presence into their everyday lives, real-world ramifications have already emerged. Whether it's someone plotting to commit a robbery, or just making legal statements, the interactive media forum can be a dangerous place—password is bond.
No one understands this more than law-enforcement authorities around the world, who now track social sites the way local cops study Hood 2 Hood DVDs. And it seems to be working: this week, suspected Italian mafia member Pasqual "Scarface" Manfredi was detained after repeatedly updating his Facebook page. And he's not the only example of this growing phenomenon; take a look at some more people whose love for staying in touch got them touched...
Daniel Knight Hayden, Oklahoma (2009)
It's already known that the Secret Service has had its eye on the Tea Party movement thanks to the group's violent rhetoric—but no one knew they were surveilling its members on Twitter. So when Daniel Hayden, aka @CitizenQuasar started tweeting about turning an upcoming protest into a bloodbath, FBI officials came knocking; the 52-year-old was arrested at his home and released to a halfway house. As for those who re-tweeted him, it's safe to assume they got at least one new follower that day.
Maxi Sopo, Cancun (2009)
If you bounce to Mexico after committing $200,000 worth of bank fraud, you should probably take a page out of Nate Dogg's discography and lay low. But the 26-year-old former Seattle resident thought shit was sweet; not only did he set up a revealing Facebook page that boasted of wild partying, but also unwittingly accepted a friend request from a Justice Department official. D'oh! The feds contacted his Facebook "friend," who facilitated his capture. Now that's what you call profiling.
REVOK, Melbourne, Australia (2009)
While in Australia to attend Melbourne's Clash Of The Titans event, LA-based graffiti writer REVOK blessed the city with some of his pieces. But Aussie police were hating—so when the 32-year-old tweeted that he was on his way to the airport, authorities made the arrest before his flight took off. Homie was fined $15,000 and faces nine months in prison. As for his writing—can't stop, won't stop!
Elliot Madison, Pennsylvania (2009)
During the most recent G-20 protests, New York anarchist Elliot Madison borrowed an idea from Iranian demonstrators and used Twitter to organize protestors. Armed with a police scanner, the 41-year-old tweeted police locations to help his followers avoid arrests. Clearly frazzled, the authorities later raided his home in Queens and charged him with interstate rioting. Ever read that book 1984?
Craig "Lazie" Lynch, London (2010)
Breaking out of jail is hard. Setting up a Facebook account? Not so much. Perhaps 28-year-old "Lazie" figured that his newfound freedom was on limited time, so he made the best out of it by taunting British police online. After building a web buzz that resulted in several dedication songs, the convicted burglar evaded capture for four months while he posted updates about shopping with his bird among other "I don't give a f*ck" antics. When he was finally apprehended, Facebook deleted his account—possibly for strange activity.
Christopher Crego, Indiana (2010)
Either brazen or just foolishly unaware of how Facebook operated, New York fugitive Chris Crego was the most effective informant in his own case. After fleeing to avoid a string of charges back home, Crego received a new message on his Facebook wall from authorities: "It was due to your diligence in keeping us informed that now you are under arrest." He had apparently posted the name and location of his new job at an Indiana tattoo parlor, thus redefining the term "sting operation."
Paul Chambers, Doncaster, UK (2010)
In an era when airport security is constantly on edge, even joking about terrorism online is a cause for police intervention. While frustrated with a cancelled flight, British traveler Paul Chambers, tweeted: "You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!" A week later, authorities got their shit together... and Chambers was arrested under the Terrorism Act and released on bail. Funny or die?
Pasqual "Scarface" Manfredi, Crotone, Italy (2010)
Logging in as "Georgie," the suspected mob murderer was so busy keeping his friends close that his enemies ultimately got closer. Police used a new sophisticated surveillance tool to track his location through his Internet updates. When asked about his Facebook profile, the man known locally as "Scarface" most likely replied, "Who put this thing together? Me, that's who! Who do I trust? Me!"
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