The London Riots and the Consequences for Social Media

I posted two links on my classes hashtag #bcm206 today talking about the London riots back in 2011 and how there was a massive call to have social media regulated by police to prevent future similar crimes. In fact I enjoyed reading it so much that I have decided to dedicate a whole 150 words to talk about it, maybe even 200 if I want to push my luck with whoever is marking this.

Following the London riots in 2011 the Prime Minister at the time, David Cameron, spoke about his feelings on the use of Social Media in being used to orchestrate/organise the attacks saying, “Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill.” and said he wanted to, “… (work) with the police, the intelligence services and the industry (Social media) … To stop people communicating via these websites (with the intention of inciting violence).”

After talks went ahead on this topic a conclusion was come to that all involved parties were happy with. In the agreement both Facebook and Twitter are helping teach police on the best methods of monitoring social network for signs of public violence without having to breach user privacy. After the initial hype of calls being made to have these services shut down or to allow unrestricted access to data on social media by police many officials, and users, of the social media companies were glad that no restrictions were being posed on the platform, with a spokesperson from Facebook saying: “We welcome the fact that this was a dialogue about working together … rather than imposing new restrictions on Internet services.”

As an Australian citizen who has lived in the country my whole life it makes me think about examples closer to home, the Cronulla riots in 2005 were organised mostly through circulating text messages and the turnout for that was huge. It just makes me wonder how big it could of been if each and every attack was being coordinated on social media.







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