The number of 999 calls that mention Facebook has soared by 7,400 percent in the past three years.
A Freedom of Information request made to Cambridgeshire Police by Masons news agency revealed the police force received 1,640 emergency calls that mentioned the social network this year. The 999 calls included alleged instances of bullying, harassment and even grooming. That's up on the 22 emergency calls that mentioned Facebook in 2007.
The social network was also mentioned in 225 emergency calls regarding domestic abuse. However, the figures only offers a snapshot of Cambridgeshire and not the wider picture for the whole of the UK.
"The Facebook phenomenon is just amazing. Everyone seems to be using it, and we certainly get a lot of calls that are Facebook-related," said Detective Sergeant Darren Cooper.
"It is a good tool for messaging and you can see how it has been used with the student riots. Parents of pupils have gone down to schools to report their child has been bullied through Facebook. It is used to make threats."
However, Facebook said it was not surprised the social network is mentioned during calls to the police, because of its growing popularity - and pointed out that the reasons why the website is mentioned in the calls is unknown.
"Millions use Facebook to raise awareness of issues, people and ideas - from X-Factor through to recent political protests, while ‘Facebook me’ has become part of our language. As such it is no surprise Facebook is also mentioned in criminal reporting - the link between the growth of the service and its mention in crimes is probably the same for any number of digital platforms that have entered our everyday lives in recent years, from the mobile phone to email," a Facebook spokesman said.
"These statistics do not consider the nature of how Facebook featured - for instance whether the platform aided investigations or if the police received help from Facebook in securing a conviction. While there is a correlation between Facebook’s growing size and the number of calls, there is no evidence to suggest that the use of Facebook was the cause or carrier of a criminal act in any of the phone calls referenced."
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