Fueled by Twitter & BBM?
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19 August 2011 Last updated at 06:31 ET Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan and Jordan Blackshaw were jailed for four years for incitement on Facebook The major social networks have been called to the home office next Thursday to discuss the English riots. So far only Facebook has confirmed its attendance, although Blackberry has suggested it will also be there. Facebook, Twitter and Blackberry have all been criticised after it emerged that some rioters may have used them to plan trouble or encourage others. David Cameron has said the government would look at limiting access to such services during any future disorder.
London riots: a looted O2 mobile phone store in Tottenham Hale retail park. Photograph: Ray Tang/Rex Features In October 1985, on the Broadwater Farm estate in Tottenham where the death of Cynthia Jarrett sparked riots that culminated in the brutal murder of PC Keith Blakelock, a community leader stood on his chair at a packed open-air meeting. The man bellowed into a megaphone to the 150 residents in front of him: "You tell them that it's a life for a life from now on.
Sara Luker, prweek.com, Monday, 08 August 2011, 9:29am, London riots: more than 100 people arrested A story on the The Daily Mail website yesterday stated: ‘Fears that violence was fanned by Twitter as picture of burning police car was retweeted more than 100 times’. The Mail went as far as to caption one of its pictures: ‘Twitter riot: A red London double decker bus burns.' The coverage also stated that ‘troublemakers’ on Twitter were orchestrating the violence and encouraging ‘scores more people into the area'. It printed a tweet from ‘English Frank’: ‘Everyone up and roll to Tottenham f*** the 50 [police].
In the wake of a controversial police shooting, Britain’s capital city has been rocked by two straight days of widespread rioting and looting. As with previous riots — such as those in Vancouver, British Columbia following the Stanley Cup final — everyone seems to be looking for a culprit, with some blaming Twitter and Facebook, and others pinning the violence on BlackBerry and its instant messaging abilities. But that’s a little like blaming individual trees for the forest fire. As we’ve pointed out before with respect to the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, these are just aspects of our increasingly real-time, mobile and connected lives , and that can be an incredibly powerful force for both good and bad.
"Coincez les émeutiers de Twitter" . Pour la presse populaire britannique, les émeutes qui frappent depuis samedi plusieurs quartiers de Londres ont été rendues possibles par les réseaux sociaux , dont le site de micromessages Twitter . Pour preuve, affirme le Sun , "une photo d'un bâtiment en flammes a été retweetée [rediffusée] une centaine de fois samedi soir" .
Saturday the 6 August 2011 and the streets of Tottenham are set ablaze by rioting . As many people will recall, it isn’t the first time this has happened. On 6 October 1985 a notorious riot occurred on the Broadwater Farm Estate that led to the murder of PC Keith Blakelock . On both occasions the disturbances were triggered by deaths caused by police. In the first instance it was that of Cynthia Jarrett, an African Caribbean woman who died during a police search of her home. This latest incident was sparked by the shooting of Mark Duggan, a 29 year old man killed during an alleged gunfight with police on Thursday.
The Daily Mail and the Sun newspapers have pointed the blame in part at Twitter for fuelling the weekend riots and looting in Tottenham, Enfield, Brixton and elsewhere in London. UPDATE – Blackberry has issued a statement (see below) on Twitter to say it is working with the authorities. The Sun says that rioters used Twitter to swell their numbers and “orchestrate the Tottenham violence” as message were sent inciting others to join in as they sent messages urging: “Roll up and loot”. The Sun quoted one tweeter who posted: “one sick tweet even called on rioters to KILL police officers in a chilling reminder of the murder of PC Keith Blakelock during a riot nearby in 1985″. It said as crowds plundered shops and other businesses and swelled during the night as looters used Twitter to brag about their hauls and spread word of their locations: A user calling himself “English Frank” called for attacks on police, posting: “Everyone up and roll to Tottenham f*** the 5-0 (police).
As the riots that plagued London over the weekend continue onto Monday, spreading from Tottenham in the north down to Brixton in the south, the technology used by the rioters to coordinate their efforts is being called to account. Earlier today we wrote about the role Twitter played in the London riots, but it transpires that BlackBerrys may also have been instrumental in organizing the riots. It seems that BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) is the perfect instant messaging tool for rioters, given that it’s free to use (unlike text messages), and you can instantly see when someone has read a message. Also, whilst Twitter is very much a public platform, BBM can be used to communicate between groups in private. It’s probably wrong to blame the tools and technology for the actions of people, but with trouble still flaring across the UK capital into Monday, that is exactly what’s happening.
London riots: a police officer passes the remains of a burnt out furniture shop in Croydon. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA Police investigating those responsible for the London riots will be able to track down and arrest them based on their BlackBerry Messenger communication with others who took part. BlackBerry owners using the private social network to message each other and plan unrest could find their personal information – including their names and those of their contacts – handed over to police as part of their investigation.
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Posted at 09:42 AM ET, 08/09/2011 Aug 09, 2011 01:42 PM EDT TheWashingtonPost British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, center, and Tottenham MP David Lammy. (Stefan Rousseau - AFP/Getty Images) Rioters in London have apparently chosen BlackBerry Messenger as the service of choice to coordinate attacks, leading one British politician, David Lammy, to call for the service to be suspended.