Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg meets with Dallas Police Department to discuss social media’s role in public safety.
Social media and law enforcement agencies have a tenuous relationship built on pros and cons. On the one hand, sites like Facebook have become an incredible way to spread the word quickly to an entire city, all without maintaining and testing expensive alert and broadcast equipment. However, as news headlines throughout last year can attest, innovations like Facebook Live can bring less-than-stellar police action to every smartphone around the globe.
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and rumored future political candidate, is making the rounds of the US and meeting with individuals from different walks of life, as well as industries of every kind. This week, he sat down for a meeting with officers from the Dallas Police Department for a conversation on how social media is helping and hindering the work of public safety.
Zuckerberg later acknowledged that the discussion turned to ways social media can certainly help the police in terms of communication and accountability, while also admitting the talk turned to the “challenges” officers face in trying to do their jobs while wondering if their every move is being broadcast in real time. But even the officers in attendance had to confess that wondering if every citizen on the streets could be recording them would only hurt the officers who had something to hide.
Of course, no social media and social justice meeting would be complete without a few digs at Facebook for its role in spreading fake news. It’s a burden that the site has vowed to tackle, but so far, there’s been very little headway in producing a trustworthy method of weeding out the fact from the fiction. Fake news, whether it comes in the form of public hoaxes or outright falsehoods, can pose a problem for law enforcement, especially when it turns public perception of an already scorned profession into something even more sinister.