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Instagram, Facebook Photos Help NYPD Target Criminals

The New York Police Department runs photos from both Instagram and Facebook through facial recognition software to track down criminals.

by / May 28, 2013

Twitter and Pinterest are well-known sources for law enforcement working to catch criminals -- just look at the Boston and  Philadelphia police departments.

But now, photos posted not only to Facebook but also to Instagram are becoming useful in tracking them down -- at least for the New York Police Department. According to news outlet Heavy, the department runs photos from the two social media sites through facial recognition software to help identify and locate them.

“It is the one time something you see on a television show is actually working in the real world,” said an NYPD official to DNAinfo New York.

The official said during a recent incident, a woman reported her jewelry had been stolen by a friend’s boyfriend. She did not know the alleged thief’s name, but claimed it was likely he’d be in photos on his girlfriend’s Facebook profile.

“We did not have his name, but we found a photo, the NYPD official said, and the facial recognition unit got a hit."

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