Toronto cop tries to catch child predator with Twitter
#smilecon hashtag publicizes 8-year-old case on social media
A Toronto police constable is trying to turn an eight-year child-porn manhunt into a worldwide dragnet — using social media.
A man is wanted for sexually assaulting a young girl on video, which is circulating online.
Police in New Brunswick have new clues in the case, and turned to Toronto Police to get the word out far and wide.
Const. Scott Mills, the Toronto Police Service’s resident social media specialist, took the hunt to Twitter and Facebook. It's an experiment Mills hopes will go viral.
He's sharing new leads in an eight-year-old child pornography case with more than 100 police agencies in six different countries at the Social Media and Internet Law Enforcement Conference taking place in Omaha, Nebraska.
At several times throughout the day, people at the conference tweeted information about the case with the hashtag #smilecon.
Conference attendees and others tweeted a total of 482 times from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. using that hashtag. Their tweets were posted on 1.96 million Twitter timelines, which, accounting for inactive and automated accounts, reached an estimate 993,132 people.
Mills says a video has been online since 2005 showing a man sexually abusing a girl who appears to be three years old.
“We hope to reach out and locate this victim and help,” says Mills. “And to bring this victim to safety. That’s the goal of everyone in this room.”