Facebook Closes Inmates Accounts, at California's Request
Article by George Norman
On 10 Aug 2011
When you’re a free man, you can go where you want and do what you want. You can even spend all day surfing the web and updating your Facebook status if that’s what you want to do. But if you’re an inmate, you can’t do that – at least part of it. You can’t go where you want and you can’t do what you want, but you can still browse Facebook and update your status. The figures prove it. There are reports that say that more than 7,200 inmates in California have a contraband phone and can access the popular social networking site.

The state of California wants to prevent inmates from accessing Facebook. After a California prison inmate, a convicted child molester, used Facebook to view the pages of his victim from behind bars, the authorities asked Facebook to begin closing the accounts of California inmates. If the Facebook account of an inmate is updated while he is in prison, that account has to be shut down because it means the inmate has found a way to access the account (the contraband phones I mentioned above).

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Even if a family member updates a California inmate’s Facebook status, that’s reason enough to shut the account down. You see, Facebook's policies prohibit an individual other than the registered user from updating a Facebook account.

"We will disable accounts reported to us that are violating relevant U.S. laws or regulations, or inmate accounts that are updated by someone on the outside," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement.

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), with the help of Facebook, the accounts of at least two prisoners have been shut down. The CDCR and Facebook will continue the search for accounts that have been accessed by inmates while they were in prison and will shut them down as well.

Having access to social media is a means of circumventing a prison’s monitoring process, explained CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. With access to mobile phones and social media, the inmates can continue their criminal activities from behind bars. But by cooperating with Facebook, the CDCR can help protect the community and may even be able to prevent future crimes.

Tags: Facebook, Security, California, CDCR
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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Facebook Closes Inmates Accounts, at California's Request
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