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Mayor calls for more social media monitoring

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Police and community leaders believe the crowd was organized using social media. Police and community leaders believe the crowd was organized using social media.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Michael Losavio Michael Losavio
Jeff Rushton Jeff Rushton

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called for increased social media action after waves of teenagers descended on Waterfront Park and Broadway Saturday night committing crimes.

Police and community leaders believe the crowd was organized using social media.

"The way most of these flash incidents are organized is through social media," Mayor Fischer said Tuesday during a press conference surrounded by community leaders. 

Mayor Fischer said Louisville Metro police would be beefing up social media monitoring among other things. "I'm also asking the community," he continued, "if you see any issues on social media that you think can lead to large groups of people coming together please call 911."

University of Louisville's Legal Social Media Expert Michael Losavio discussed how crimes like Saturday's can be investigated by police on social media. Searches, Losavio explained, can include comments about what happened, geo tags or location information, in addition to hashtags and image searches.

"If they take pictures of what happens or pictures of the people who were hurt," Losavio said, "then they can look to see if those show up in the data."

So how do you spot it before it happens as the Mayor suggests?

Losavio said police or anyone can look for patterns, key words and trends for bad activity. The problem is many of those conversations are private.

"Private discussions, private networks and things like that are much tougher to see," explained UofL's Director of Digital Media Jeff Rushton.

He said leaks happen, "When somebody in that group shares it with one of their non-private friends and then it becomes public, then it goes viral from there."

Some parents who saw the posts of the teenagers in question said they thought it was supposed to be a peaceful gathering.

Besides searching on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, other tools like Bottlenose let you plug in several social networks. You can view all conversations surrounding a keyword like "waterfront" and it's free to anyone.

Rushton explained how it works, "It shows you not just one ring of the conversation, meaning you and your friends, but it shows the conversations that occur outside of there."

Again, if those conversations are private, they won't show up. That's where leaks come in handy.

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