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Friday, August 26, 2011

Cops Tracking Social Media to Prevent Flash Mobs, Fail to Prevent Most-Publicized Flash Mob in Cleveland

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2011 at 12:00 PM


Another day, another flash mob story. This one takes a look behind the closed doors and onto the computer screens that serve as the watchdog to those troublesome kids and their new-fangled flash mobs.

WKYC reports
that stationed in the Justice Center in Cleveland is the "Fusion Center," an outpost where authorities from a wide-range of acronyms and police groups monitor social media to ward off flash mobs and trouble. This is in addition to monitoring for terrorist activity and other criminal happenings.

The usual suspects are saying all the right things when asked about their precautionary eagle-eye and how they will conquer the raging beast that is the flash mob hype.

"The challenge to law enforcement is to know when you have a group that is there for trouble or have a group that is there for fun and communicate," Cuyahoga County Sheriff Bob Reid said.

"Our goal is to catch that message as soon as it goes out so that we're not caught off guard," Cleveland Police Spokesman Sammy Morris said.

"We're dealing with a younger age group that aren't real sophisticated. To pick up on what we are looking for is not very difficult at all," Fusion Center Director Bill Schenkelberg said.

In one instance, that might have been the case. A planned "flash mob" (although accounts vary on whether it was even a flash mob or not) was stymied by South Euclid cops before the action got underway.

But it seems the authorities are not as well-versed and prepared as they'd like to think. WKYC notes that the flash mob organized by Machine Gun Kelly flew under the radar of the "Fusion Center," this despite being tagged #flashmob on Twitter and dominating Twitter discussion the whole morning before it happened. But, you know, they're on top of most things. It does seem, however, that the "Fusion Center" needs a few Follow Friday recommendations, or a tutorial on Twitter from one of the 14-year-old girls in Strongsville who attended the MGK flash mob.

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