As if cyber bullying wasn’t enough, social media is now being used as another kind of intimidation tactic. The District Attorney in Philadelphia has been cracking down on people using websites like Twitter and Instagram to threaten witnesses during criminal investigations.
An anonymous Instagram account called “Rats215” was shut down last week after it had threatened more than 30 witnesses of violent crimes in Philadelphia since February. Someone was posting photos, police statements and testimony with the stated intention of trying to “expose rats,” the AP reported.
On Wednesday, a Philly teen was arrested for allegedly using Twitter to post intimidating messages about a 2012 shooting. That included pictures of the victim and statements the victim made to police, reports Solomon Leach at Philly.com, all information that was not supposed to get out, as a grand-jury investigation has begun.
The police are looking into whether this teen is associated with the “Rats215” account, too.
In August, the District Attorney also convicted a man who admitted to posting threatening photos and messages on his Facebook page last November. Those threats were aimed at a witness of a crime involving his friend. He was sentenced to up to 23 months in prison.