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Twitter a force for evil in Mexico?

by on July 1, 2010

Some Mexican officials are looking to pass a law to restrict the use of Twitter and other social media sites. Officials in Mexico argue that a number of Twitter-using Mexicans, nicknamed “Los Twitteros,” are warning people about security checkpoints, hindering the police’s ability to crack down on drunk drivers and control criminal behavior. If passed, the law will make it illegal for people to share information that would enable people to break the law. By regulating the use of Twitter and Facebook, officials think criminals will be unable to use social media to target victims, coordinate their activities, avoid police and strengthen their intelligence network.

There are currently 146,000 Twitter accounts in Mexico, most of the usage are in the capital region around Mexico City and in U.S. border towns. These are areas in the country with the largest concentration of criminal activities.  However, people argue that a new law violates free speech. Tracking the los twitteros can be tricky, plus, the law is very vague so enforcement would be a challenge. Besides, how do you enforce a law that regulates the use social media any way?

The Mexican government should spend more time monitoring social media channels more closely and use them as a tool to investigate suspects, thwart criminal activities and capture criminals. Similar to its use in the U.S., Mexican police and government officials can also use social media to engage residents, warn them of dangerous areas and people, and enable them to submit anonymous tips.  Besides missing out on reaping the benefits of social media, Mexican law enforcement officers will be chasing their own shadow if they decide to spend precious resources to police Twitter and Facebook.

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From → Mexico

One Comment
  1. I liked your quick setup of the challenge and how you posed the problem both in the title of your post and in the leading part of it. Your suggestions for how Mexico could use Twitter as a positive force instead of one for evil were good, but lacked a bit of detail that would have made clearer what you were suggesting. For example, you share that the government could use Twitter as a tool to interrogate suspects … how would this work? The suggestions you have might be right, but without giving a bit more detail on what you mean, they just seem a little too broad. (3)

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