Facebook can be used to catch criminals, but it can also help save victims.
A South African woman was saved from two armed robbers who had physically assaulted and threatened to rape her, after updating her Facebook status.
According to The Beeld newspaper, the attackers tied up the woman in her bedroom together with her 10-year-old son. They also stole her cellphone and told her that they would kill her husband when he came home.
The woman then managed to untie herself and her son, before hiding in her wardrobe with her laptop.
From there, she sent out two updates, saying “Please help! We have an armed robbery, they’re waiting for Hennie [her husband] at the gate, please phone him, don’t let him come inside” and Help! Call Hennie. We’ve managed to untie ourselves. They said they would come back to rape me. Armed.”
According to the newspaper, one of her friends saw her message and called for help immediately.
Police and security guards reportedly arrived on the scene within minutes, but the attackers had fled.
Facebook is becoming an increasingly valuable tool in tracking down criminals. Police in the German state of Lower Saxony, for instance, will soon begin using Facebook to help locate missing persons and hunt down suspected criminals.