Legal Blog Watch reports that companies like Boloco, a Boston burrito restaurant, are using their own social media followers and community to try to solve crime s such as the theft of a safe from one of their stores. According to its article featured in the Daily Business Review, Boloco posted the following to its Facebook page in late January:
$1000 cash reward for information that leads to apprehension of these 3 individuals who broke in and robbed our Boloco Berklee location last night less than 30 minutes after our team locked the doors. We added music to the video (because that’s what we do), but it was haunting even without it.
We debated about whether to share this or not – traditionally this isn’t something that is “shared”… but it’s 2012 … and we think everyone needs to see what is happening out there, and work together to reduce and one day eliminate evil people like these three.
The post was accompanied by this video. A day later, Boloco updated its Facebook page to report that it had received a “juicy” tip that might result in a $1000 cash winner provided it led to an arrest.
Private companies are following in the footsteps of law enforcement and insurance companies who already monitor social media sites for information and evidence concerning crimes and false claims. In December, I reported on how insurers and police are using information from Facebook and Twitter to nail policyholders for filing inflated or fraudulent claims. As more businesses begin to understand the power of social media, I believe the scenario described above will become more common. Business should consult with their in-house attorneys or experienced counsel on how their “self-help” measures might effect or interfere the outcome of any criminal investigation or civil liability.