The Facebook crimewave hits 100,000 in the last five years

Crimes linked to Facebook reached more than 100,000 across the country in the last five years, it emerged yesterday.

Police chiefs in 16 forces revealed that 7,545 calls from the public since January were concerned with the social networking site.

Callers have alerted officers to alleged acts of terrorism, sudden deaths, missing pets and even firearms offences.

Facebook users have used to site to detect crimes ranging from terrorism to missing pets

Frauds, sexual offences and hate crimes were also reported to police, as well as a large number of malicious messages on the site.

The figures have been obtained by the Daily Mail via Freedom of Information Act requests to forces.

They compare to just 1,411 calls related to Facebook to police in the whole of 2005, when the network began to gain popularity.

The website has been used by criminals to make threats, intimidate, bully and harass.

Campaign groups claim sex offenders use websites such as Facebook and conceal their identity to snare children and women.

The website was launched in February 2004 and in July this year had more than 500million active users.

A spokesman for children’s charity Kidscape said: ‘These figures are quite alarming, but they reflect the growing use of Facebook by the general population.

Cyber crime: Cambridgeshire Police have had to investigate 1,640 sites that have been linked to the social networking site

‘It must be remembered that any site operating user accounts has the potential for users to create false accounts.

‘We know that anonymous profiles can lead to a wide range of cyber crime, not least bullying and stalking.

‘The sheer volume of personal information that individuals include in their profiles without activating all the appropriate privacy settings is a huge concern.

‘These figures are an urgent reminder that we must increase our personal safety settings in cyberspace.’

A spokesman for Facebook said: ‘While there is a correlation between Facebook’s growing size and the number of calls, there is no evidence to suggest that the use of Facebook was the cause or carrier of a criminal act in any of the phone calls referenced.’

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