Norway seeks new powers to police Facebook


Norway is considering introducing “uniformed police profiles” which would patrol Facebook looking for criminal activity.

Kripos, Norway’s National Criminal Investigation Service, is reportedly examining the legal aspects of how police accounts could be given access to areas of Facebook that are not open to the public.

It would mean police gaining access to closed groups and interacting with members as they search for evidence of criminal activity, the Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv reported.

Wilhelm Due, a communications officer for Kripos, told the newspaper: “We have looked into the possibility of creating uniformed accounts. But we have not decided whether it is something we should do.”

According to the newspaper Släger Kommunikasjon, a public relations firm for Facebook in Norway, said it did not want to comment on police profiles.

Police in Norway and elsewhere have previously used fake Facebook profiles to investigate crimes including smuggling alcohol and tobacco.

Facebook has not given police profiles with enhanced access to private groups but they can apply for access to them in connection with criminal cases, Dagens Næringsliv reported.

Police superintendent Emil Jenssen of Kripos told Norwegian broadcaster NRK: “We get lots of tips on areas where it is sold bootleg, drugs or other illegal things. Then we go inside these groups to preserve evidence for criminal cases.

“If there is a criminal case we can go to court and get an injunction and send it to Facebook. They send us so the information we need.

“We have the ability to do this in necessity as well if there is danger to life and health. When it goes very quickly, often under an hour. In other criminal cases it takes longer.”

In the UK MPs recently heavily criticised Facebook and other technology firms for allowing illegal material to spread to millions of people online.

The Home Affairs Committee accused Facebook, Google and Twitter of being “completely irresponsible” and said the technology giants should pay for investigations into crimes involving their networks.

Earlier this month Facebook announced it was hiring thousands of human reviewers to censor content following widespread criticism of the social network’s failure to crack down on violent and illegal posts.

Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook chief executive, said it would add 3,000 moderators, which would doubled the number of people currently employed to look for material posted on the network including terrorist material and hate speech.

The decision to employ more moderators came after two video posts last month showed killings in Thailand and the United States.

In Germany politicians have threatened fines if Facebook cannot remove at least 70 per cent of offending posts within 24 hours.

Mr Zuckerberg said recently he wanted to “double down” to provide a “safe experience for the community” and Facebook would keep working with community groups and the police to do so.


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