Vancouver’s Most Wanted…The Facebook Site

Here’s a piece from the UK Guardian that talks about an interesting use for Facebook. It seems a determined group of Vancouver citizens is tracking down participants in last month’s post Stanley Cup riots using the social media site. The site is posting pictures and names of folks apparently caught joining in the rioting and looting that followed the Canucks’ loss to the Boston Bruins. The Vancouver mayor and the police had asked for the public’s help in identifying rioters. And it looks like the public is more than willing to assist. And while this is taking place in Canada, it begs the question whether there would be any issues in taking this approach in the United States. Frankly, I can’t think of any. The rioters/looters were doing their thing in public, so there’s no expectation of privacy that could trigger any type of 4thAmendment issue. Any photo posted on Facebook would need to be authenticated to be used as evidence in any criminal trial. That would require the actual photographer to testify. But again, while that may prove a logistical challenge, it’s certainly not a legal defect. The troubling thing about the article is that the same mob mentality that kicked in the night of the riot seems to be operating here. The identified rioters have apparently been subjected to threats and hate calls. Not quite sure that’s a real good thing.