Twitter is the modern day gangland. The social media network is being used by gang members and criminals to boast, recruit new members and promote their gangs all in 140 characters or less.
The most recent and shocking use of Twitter by a group of criminals happened last week when the terrorist group, al-Shabaab live tweeted the massacre of civilians in Westgate Mall in Kenya, defending the mass killing and threatening more violence. When Twitter closed down their account, they opened a new one under a different name.
The act of calling out a rival or rival gang on Twitter or Facebook is called “internet drilling,” and an infamous story from Chicago Illinois speaks as to just how bad internet drilling can get.
The story of Chief Keef and Lil JoJo, two young rappers from Chicago, depicts a rivalry that ended in tragedy. Chief Keef, whose real name is Keith Cozart is now a famous rapper after signing a $6 million deal with Interscope records, and has now become known for flashing wads of cash all around LA.
Before he was a multi-million dollar earning artist, he was serving a sentence on house arrest for pointing a gun at a police officer. While on house arrest, he uploaded some of his songs to YouTube. The first song he uploaded was called “3hunna,” which refers to the Black Disciples gang. In the song he disses rival gang, the “Gangster Disciples” aka the Tooka gang. He sings “Fucka Tooka gang, bitch, I’m 3hunna.” In response to this song, Lil JoJo, whose real name is Joseph Coleman, uploaded his own song, which featured the lyrics: “Niggas claim 300 but we BDK,” BDK stands for Black Disciples Killers. The song called, “3HUNNAK,” threatens to kill a member of Cheif Keef’s gang, and features a bunch of guys pointing guns at the camera.
This started a war, not only on the streets, but also with tweets, and people in Chicago were able to follow it in real time.
On September 4, 2012, Lil JoJo drove down Black Disciples’ block. He posted a video on his Twitter account which shows him swearing at someone as they walk by, and that person shouts back “I’m a kill you.” That afternoon while riding on the back pegs of his friend’s bike Lil JoJo was shot and killed.
JM Berger, a security analyst who is editor of Intelwire, an online magazine that monitors extremist activity says that Twitter needs to be more clear as to what content is not OK. He said:
They respond to abuse reports, but their criteria for suspension is very limited.
A study by an Ariona State University criminologist Scott Decker said that 20 per cent of gang members said their gang had a website or social network account and 50 per cent said they posted videos online.
While gangs, prostitutes, and extremists are using Twitter to promote themselves and boast, they are also leaving a paper trail that law enforcement can use to follow their illegal activities, which can lead to arrests.
Do you think there is a way to stop criminals from being a part of online communities?
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