Police monitoring crowds, social media posts for July 4 holiday - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Police monitor social media posts to protect holiday crowds

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Police use a special website to monitor messages as they get posted on social media sites. (Source: WOIO) Police use a special website to monitor messages as they get posted on social media sites. (Source: WOIO)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Police are doing more than just watch people now. Besides watching crowds, they're monitoring social media and what's being said about the crowds.

They're paying more attention to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and more, especially around special events.

For July 4, an angry Instagram message made the rounds threatening violence downtown.

We tapped into a special website that can monitor messages as they get posted. We saw people responding to that Instagram threat, and when we went out into the crowds getting ready to watch fireworks, we quickly met folks who had seen the message.

The people we met are glad police are doing more to monitor social media. Police officers tell 19 Action News they take postings seriously, evaluating what needs deeper investigating.

One woman at an eastside park with her family said she considers social media talk more accurate and immediate about what's going on in the streets. Even compared to news reports.

Sometimes postings can lead to bigger crowds -- or trouble. Investigators have said social media played a role in drawing a big crowd at an eastside block party that ended in violence Memorial Day weekend.

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Copyright 2014 WOIO. All rights reserved.

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