The FBI and Social Media
Over the past few years, the FBI has rolled out a number of new initiatives on its website, http://www.fbi.gov, that make it easier for the public and Bureau partners to help track down wanted fugitives and missing children, to submit tips on terrorism and crime, and to get the latest FBI news and information. These include an e-mail alert service, syndicated news feeds, and a series of podcasts and widgets.
In 2009, the FBI followed up on these efforts by establishing an offi cial presence on several social media websites, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. These sites provide another way for the public to access FBI news, stories, videos, and other content posted on the Bureau’s website.
In February 2009, a Kansas company (founded by a former law enforcement officer) that provides eGovernment services created a free iPhone and iTouch app featuring Bureau fugitives and breaking news. It was inspired by the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitives widget, installed on over 4,500 websites around the world and viewed more than a million times. After downloading the app, users can view pictures of and details on missing children and wanted criminals and terrorists and send e-mail tips by phone. A more recent update provides directions to and contact information for the nearest FBI office. People in over 75 countries have downloaded the app more than 700,000 times.
In January 2010, a new widget (viewable at /news/videos) was unveiled integrating dozens of the FBI’s feature videos into an easy-to-navigate player that law enforcement officers or members of the public can embed on any website or share with others by clicking on the “Get & Share” button. Further efforts have included pilot tests in Second Life, a free 3-D world inhabited by millions of people worldwide, for virtual billboards and kiosks that show the photos of Ten Most Wanted fugitives and connect people to FBI jobs, the Internet Crime Complaint Center, and wanted posters of cyber criminals.