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2021.04.06 13:30

Lithuanian police to patrol social media, send Facebook messages to ‘obvious’ offenders

BNS2021.04.06 13:30

Lithuanian police are launching a “virtual patrol unit” to monitor cyberspace for hate speech and illegal content. 

The unit will initially consist of three officers who will only respond to "obvious offenses committed or planned to be committed in cyberspace", the Police Department said on Tuesday.

"Initially, individuals will be warned to stop potentially illegal activities, and if they fail, the material collected will be registered and forwarded to the appropriate police unit for further investigation," it said.

The patrols will publicly warn potential violators on social networks or news websites and then send them a private Facebook message and an email from virtualus.patrulis@policija.lt.

Read more: Lithuanian police to patrol social media for hate speech and vaccine disinformation

Police Commissioner General Renatas Požėla has said that virtual patrols will only respond to specific violations of the law and will not censor commentators.

These are "obvious offenses" such as offers to sell vaccines, narcotic substances or forged documents, investment scams and other kinds of fraud, and swearing or insulting other people, he said.

Users are encouraged to report illegal cyber activity to the virtual police patrol unit.

The police will evaluate "in two to three months" whether the measure has proved to be effective, according to Požėla.