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"Thieves" page on Facebook is closed down
A Facebook page set up to target Keighley criminals has been removed for breaking the site’s rules after page users threatened violent retaliation against suspects.
The feature on the popular social networking site was called ‘Stop The Thieves In Keighley’.
By Monday morning, it had attracted nearly 3,500 members, some of whom called for vigilante-style action to combat offenders.
Responses were initially encouraged from townsfolk who have been the victims of burglaries, explaining this would help warn other residents of any risk to their homes and property.
The description accompanying the page stated: “Power of Facebook never fails – if the group gets big enough, people may get their belongings back or may prevent a burglary.”
Before it was taken offline, Stop The Thieves In Keighley generated a massive number of comments from people furious about their possessions being stolen or destroyed.
Some of them clearly identified Keighley people whom they believed were guilty of these crimes, while others alarmingly said burglars deserved to be “raped in prison”, or badly beaten up.
Many comments attacked the police for not doing enough to catch thieves.
A Facebook spokesman said: “I can confirm the profile has been removed because it breached our terms, as set out in our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.”
She added Facebook removed material from its site for a number of reasons, including violations such as “bullying, hate speech and inciting violence”.
Councillor Graham Mitchell chairs the Keighley Town Council committee that liaises with police.
He said: “I have huge reservations about the way in which social networking sites can be abused.
“It’s too easy for people who feel angry about something to sit at home on their computer, type something out and hit send.
“We don’t need electronic vigilante exercises to get results from Keighley police. The officers are already out there on the streets and doing their job.”
A spokesman for Airedale and North Bradford Police said officers received no complaints about the Facebook page, so would not be investigating it.