Social Drug Dealing
A similar situation took place in Adelaide, Australia, where a local news organization discovered the existence of another “hidden” Facebook group, where the privacy settings are such that only the group’s members are aware of its existence, and joining the group happens by invitation only. The so-called “Adelaide street pharmacists” group had over 200 members, which Facebook shut down when alerted by the news organization. A criminologist at the University of Adelaide Law School explained that the group and others like it are examples of “ social drug dealing,” where social media platforms (like Facebook) are becoming increasingly used by criminals of all colors, allowing drug dealers to hide in plain sight. “The Internet is probably the primary mechanism for drug dealers” because using social media and smartphones to conduct business is far quicker and more efficient than methods of the past. The same privacy settings that are meant to protect users’ confidential information are also used by drug dealers to cover their tracks and render themselves invisible among the millions of legitimate Facebook groups and pages. Criminals always exploit any form of technology and innovation they can, and social media is no exception. And the ubiquity of platforms like Facebook blur the line between the online world and real life, to the point where placing an “order” through a hidden Facebook group can result in drugs being delivered to a user’s front door.