Cops and Bloggers: Why Undercover Police Officers Shouldn't Tweet About Their Jobs

A Washington, D.C., undercover cop who infiltrated anti-sweatshop demonstrations was exposed... after activists found her personal Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram accounts.

Fast Company gives professional advice all the time, but we rarely post law enforcement-specific leadership tips. Today, however, we have an important one: If you're an undercover police officer, don't tweet about your job. Or keep a Tumblr that mentions you're an undercover police officer. Or post Instagram shots of your police work.

Seems pretty obvious, but one Washington, D.C., police officer did all of these things--and had her alleged real identity exposed by activists.

Attorneys Jeffrey Light and Sean Caravan, along with activist organization United Students Against Sweatshops, claim that Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police officer Nicole Rizzi regularly attended protests under the pseudonym "Missy"--and are backed up in their assertion by Rizzi's massive social media footprint... and the Twitter posts where she discussed working for the Washington Metro PD, the Tumblr posts where she discussed her dress code as an undercover cop, and the Instagram and Yfrog pictures she posted of police life. Then there is the fact that personal pictures she posted of herself appear to be the same as pictures of "Missy."

The picture below, posted by Mike Elk, an In These Times journalist who broke the story, compares a picture of "Missy" on the left with a picture posted from Rizzi's now deactivated @snufftastic Twitter feed on the right.

Rizzi also posted on her Twitter feed numerous mentions of being a police officer, and showed pictures of mail addressed to the Washington Metro Police Department on her Yfrog feed. Then Rizzi also discussed her police dress code on her now-deleted Tumblr:

So if you're a cop on undercover assignment, it might be smart to keep away from social media--otherwise, your real identity may just be spilled all over the Internet.

[Top Image: Flickr user Striatic / Interior Images: Mike Elk & In These Times]

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4 Comments

  • Benjamin Kolaitis

    Again the issue isn't about posting on twitter, the issue is unlawful spying on protest groups without any valid documentation or warrants. This is a violation and infiltration of freedom of speech. You got this article so wrong!

  • Magnet

    Never mind that she was abridging people's free speech.Nah. That's not worthy of a mention here or there.