Journal of Police and Criminal Psychology

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 410–416 | Cite as

The Relationship Between Facebook Reactions and Sharing Investigative Requests for Assistance

  • Kimberly F. Brunell
  • Sarah W. CraunEmail author
  • Briana Davis


The use of social media as an investigative tool is widespread by law enforcement agencies. In this article, we review the public requests for investigative assistance posted by different law enforcement agencies across the nation to determine what Facebook reactions are associated with additional shares. Using like, love, sad, wow, angry, and funny clicks as proxies for the emotions community members report feeling, the goal is to provide empirically supported advice to law enforcement agencies about how to set the tone of their requests to reach the widest audience, measured by the number of times the post has been shared. When controlling for the type of crime listed, we found a positive relationship between the number of funny or sad clicks and the number of shares, while those posts that elicit angry clicks were shared fewer times. The strength of the relationships and the implications for law enforcement messaging are discussed.


Facebook Crime tips Investigative requests Social media 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Statement

This research was reviewed and approved by the FBI Institutional Review Board. No informed consent was obtained due to the secondary data being publicly available.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kimberly F. Brunell
    • 1
  • Sarah W. Craun
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Briana Davis
    • 3
  1. 1.FBI Behavioral Analysis UnitQuanticoUSA
  2. 2.FBI Academy/CIRG/IOSS/NCAVCQuanticoUSA
  3. 3.Marymount UniversityArlingtonUSA

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