Facebook to disable prisoner accounts

Facebook has agreed to disable the profiles of prison inmates in California whose accounts have been updated while they are behind bars.

By - August 10, 2011

“Access to social media allows inmates to circumvent our monitoring process and continue to engage in criminal activity,” California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation secretary Matthew Cate said in a statement Monday.

“This new cooperation between law enforcement and Facebook will help protect the community and potentially avoid future victims.”

CDCR said prison inmates are allowed to have Facebook profiles created prior to their incarceration but “if any evidence shows the account has been used while in the facility, Facebook Security will disable the account.”

Facebook accounts set up or updated on behalf of an inmate will be reported to the Facebook Security Department and removed as a violation of the social network’s user policies.

CDCR said there have been “numerous instances in which inmates, using their Facebook accounts, have delivered threats to victims or have made unwanted sexual advances.”

Inmates are maintaining their accounts using smuggled cellphones or having someone on the outside do it for them, according to CDCR.

It pointed to a “massive influx” in the number of cellphones being used by prisoners. Some 7,284 cellphones were confiscated in the first six months of this year, up from 261 devices in 2006.

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