Home secretary Theresa May is going to meet with senior police officers and senior executives from Twitter, Facebook and Blackberry to look at how to stop people plotting violence online. This has come from the recent riots and subsequent prison sentences for those inciting violence through Facebook.
David Cameron said the Government would look at limiting access to such services during any future disorder and Tim Goodwin, the Met police’s acting Commissioner also said that he considered requesting authority to switch off Twitter during the riots.
In an age where social media brings information to us as quickly as to the journalists that used to break it should the powers that be have the authority to decide when we can and can’t communicate through these channels?
Guardian analysed more than 2.5 million riot related tweets between 6th and 17th August and concluded that Twitter was mainly used to react to riots and looting and included organisation of street clean ups.
I actually started following Greater Manchester police on Twitter because their information and communication was fantastic and the clear message from everyone that I follow was the rioters are idiots and to remember that they are the minority, this gave a really community spirit through a social media channel.
Its common when faced with decisions on how to change to focus on the negatives of a situation but surely the answer to future riot avoidance isn’t to supress the voice of the people, isn’t that why they started in the first place?