"Unfortunately, when it comes to harassment, the onus is on the victim to collect as much information as they can," Guthrie told The Toronto Star.
Stevens believes there would be more prosecutions of such cases if more cops were familiar enough with social platforms to investigate claims of online harassment. Police also would need cooperation from companies such as Facebook and Twitter, which typically have been reluctant to reveal users' identities, she said.
"We don't have a lot of legal precedent. So people are at a loss for what to do," she said.
It remains to be seen whether Connecticut authorities bring charges against any social media users in relation to the Newtown case. But Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union believes they have an uphill battle.
"The police are there to protect our safety and not our feelings," said Wizner, director of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. "If his (Vance's) suggestion is that anyone who posts false information about this case on social media is subject to arrest, that would be extremely unconstitutional.
"There's a tendency (among law enforcement) to overreact to new technology. But the legal issues are the same," he said. "I can understand why law enforcement would be upset about the spread of false information. But that doesn't make it criminal."