Stop and Frisk Online: Theorizing Everyday Racism in Digital Policing in the Use of Social Media for Identification of Criminal Conduct and Associations
Police are increasingly monitoring social media to build evidence for criminal indictments. In 2014, 103 alleged gang members residing in public housing in Harlem, New York, were arrested in what has been called “the largest gang bust in history.” The arrests came after the New York Police Department (NYPD) spent 4 years monitoring the social media communication of these suspected gang members. In this article, we explore the implications of using social media for the identification of criminal activity. We describe everyday racism in digital policing as a burgeoning conceptual framework for understanding racialized social media surveillance by law enforcement. We discuss implications for law enforcement agencies utilizing social media data for intelligence and evidence in criminal cases.