(BoingBoing) - Internal emails show that the Berkeley, California Police Department (BPD) talked of building a “counter-narrative” on social media against anti-fascist protesters as BPD tweeted out their names and mugshots, then boasted of retweets and “engagement” metrics when mugshots went viral. This amounts to cops doxxing protesters and high-fiving each other over it. That's creepy, and seems like an obvious abuse of power, if not also an abuse of the law.
From the Guardian's Sept. 14 report:
The Berkeley police department (BPD) faced widespread backlash last month after posting the personal information of arrested activists online, leading to Fox News coverage and harassment and abuse against the leftwing demonstrators at a far-right rally. New emails have shown that the city has an explicit policy of targeting protesters with mugshot tweets, with the goal of using “social media to help create a counter-narrative”.
Officials have further praised the “unusually deep and broad publication and attention” to activists’ mugshots, saying it helped create a “narrative about the city’s ability to enforce the rule of law”.
(...) The records, obtained by police accountability group Lucy Parsons Labs and reported by the East Bay Express, shed light on how officials internally have defined and justified the social media policy for protests. Officials said the “social media-driven protests” have created the need for a “Twitter protocol for mug shots” and acknowledged that the tweets would get “broad national exposure”. One police email had the subject line, “Info flow from Jail to Twitter.”
The policy also made clear that police would post mugshots on Twitter only when the arrests were “protest related”, drawing criticisms that the practice was aimed at discouraging free speech activities.
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