With social media and online sharing, you can connect with almost anyone and research anything nearly instantly. Social media makes personal data more readily available, and this can prevent criminals from remaining hidden as easily as in the past. Finding criminals with social media can be an example of why technology is beneficial to society, but some critics have doubts about the overall effectiveness of fighting crime online. In the digital age, information technology specialists have an increasing role in tracking down criminals and stopping their actions.
KONY 2012: Most Viral Video Ever
In early March, Invisible Children, a non-profit organization based in San Diego, released a video known as KONY 2012. KONEY 2012 is a 30-minute documentary depicting the criminal acts of Joseph Kony, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The video’s goals were to raise awareness of the brutal and inhumane use of child soldiers in African nations such as Uganda. Along with raising awareness, video producers hoped to inspire viewers to contact influential policy-makers and public figures, asking for them to support the chase and arrest of Kony. The African Union agreed to begin a high-powered search for Kony on March 24.
Role of Social Media in KONY 2012
The video went viral. Within a week of its release, 50 million individuals watched it on YouTube. The Pew Internet and American Life Project American determined that KONY 2012 was able to become so popular so fast because of social media. The greatest number of views on YouTube resulted from young adults sharing links on Facebook and Twitter. Invisible Children’s awareness campaign also consisted of an online store to raise money. Merchandise includes posters, bracelets and stickers.
Critics Present Counter Arguments
Soon, controversy arose over whether KONY 2012 was a good use of social media to find crime. These are some of the reasons that have caused some to refer to the campaign as a scam.
The video’s producer, Jason Russell had a psychotic breakdown, shortly after its release, because of the pressure of its popularity. This incident signifies that people now associate KONY 2012 with Russell and not the intended target, Kony.
Accusations have surfaced over the concern that KONY 2012 and viral hits can provide potentially misleadinginformation and be an oversimplification of the news. The unfortunate situation in Uganda has many contributing factors, and will not be solved simply by finding a single man.
The New York Times raises the point that viral videos can potentially interfere with real change because they imply that solutions are as straightforward as sending money by clicking a link or purchasing campaign merchandise. Individuals may mistake donations for true civic engagement.
Criminals have a more difficult time hiding because of use of social media. Individuals in the public are more willing and able to provide information to legal enforcement agencies, and information can be instantly available to the world if someone posts it online. IT specialists play a significant role in finding criminals online because of their expertise in encoding, programming languages and software.