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We Didn't Start the Fire: Using Social Media to Catch LA's Arsonist

BY Micah L. Sifry | Tuesday, January 3 2012

The Los Angeles Times reports on how the city's police and fire departments overcame their distrust of social media to tap into the real-time public conversation about the rash of car-burnings of the last four days. “This investigation is social media phenomenon," Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker told the paper. “Early, in terms of the public information office, the PIOs noticed that a lot of the best information was coming from and being distributed by social media. We wanted to speak to the public where the public is, and that is social media.” Using a common Twitter handle (@arsonwatchla) and Facebook page also helped.