Police in Washington state are asking the public to stop tweeting during shootings and manhunts to avoid accidentally telling the bad guys what officers are doing. The "TweetSmart" campaign aims to raise awareness about social media's potential impact on law enforcement. Some have called the effort a step that could lead to censorship; others dismissed it as silly. Police, however, say it's just a reminder at a time when cell phones and social networks can hasten the lightning-quick spread of information.
Two recent incidents led the Washington State Patrol to organize the "TweetSmart" campaign: the search for a gunman in Canada after three officers were killed and a shooting at a high school near Portland, Oregon. Seattle photographer Michael Holden said he saw a direct path between asking people not to share crime photos and eventually forbidding them to take them. Holden said citizens have good reasons to take pictures of police and he does not worry about criminals using social media to find out what law enforcement is doing. "I think the criminals are probably having more pressing concerns than checking Twitter," he said.
— The Associated Press
First published August 14 2014, 6:11 AM