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London Riots

Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Jail for Facebook Riot Page

Author:
Perry-Sutcliffe-Keenan

Social Media can be used to spread good news for a good cause and as we saw with the London riots, it can also be used to spread violence which tears a city apart.

Two young men, who used Facebook to post messages during the London riots, have been sentenced to 4 years in jail, says The Guardian.

Twenty-year-old Jordan Blackshaw (left) created a Facebook event called Smash Down Northwich Town. Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan (right), 22, used his Facebook account to design a web page entitled The Warrington Riots.

Neither posts are believed to have actually caused any meetings or disturbances.

While some are saying these sentences are a little extreme, The Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement, “While the judge heard the two defendants were previously of good character, they admitted committing very serious offenses that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years. The consequence of their actions could have led to more disorder and this was taken into account.”

Nearly 1,300 suspects have been brought before the courts and the sentences have been harsh. Crown court judge Andrew Gilbert QC, is making it very clear why.

He said, “The principal purpose is that the courts should show that outbursts of criminal behaviour like this will be and must be met with sentences longer than they would be if the offences had been committed in isolation. For those reasons, I consider that the sentencing guidelines for specific offences are of much less weight in the context of the current case, and can properly be departed from.”

Home Secretary Theresa May and other UK officials will be meeting with Facebook and Blackberry Messenger to discuss the possibility of banning people from social networks when they know they are using them for “plotting violence, disorder and criminality”.

Image Source: The Guardian

U.K. Prime Minister Calling for Rioters to be Banned from Social Networks

Author:
London riots 02

U.K. Prime Minster David Cameron isn’t taking lightly the fact that London rioters sent messages and organized their efforts through social networks and the Blackberry Messenger service. In fact, he has called for rioters to be banned from social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and Blackberry Messenger and has reportedly set up meetings with the companies.


A man walks past burned cars in Ealing, west London, after a night of rioting, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011. In London, groups of young people rampaged for a third straight night, setting buildings, vehicles and garbage dumps alight, looting stores and pelting police officers with bottles and fireworks into early Tuesday. The spreading disorder was an unwelcome warning of the possibility of violence during London’s 2012 Summer Olympics, less than a year away. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

In a statement Facebook said, “we look forward to meeting with the Home Secretary to explain the measures we have been taking to ensure that Facebook is a safe and positive platform in the U.K. at this challenging time”.

Twitter released a statement saying “we’d be happy to listen”, but chose to not comment further.

The UK government is looking at the possibility of preventing suspected criminals from using social networking sites.

Cameron said, “We are working with the Police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality”.

This brings up some interesting issues and concerns among the public and free speech activists, as you can well imagine. Is this the same as the internet blackouts put on Egypt and Syria as some on Twitter are asking?

Source: PC Magazine

Image: AP

 

London Rioters Spread Messages with Their Blackberrys

Author:
London riots

Unfortunately, Londoners who wanted to help with the post-riot clean up weren’t the only ones using social media and technology to spread the word. The rioters themselves sent encrypted messages via BlackBerrys, says the Associated Press.

A woman walks past a damaged supermarket in Ealing, west London, after a night of rioting, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011. In London, groups of young people rampaged for a third straight night, setting buildings, vehicles and garbage dumps alight, looting stores and pelting police officers with bottles and fireworks into early Tuesday. The spreading disorder was an unwelcome warning of the possibility of violence during London’s 2012 Summer Olympics, less than a year away. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

One of the many messages sent said, “If you’re down for making money, we’re about to go hard in east London.” Others sent messages on where to find expensive items to steal – like stereo equipment, designer clothes, alcohol and bicycles.

Why were Blackberrys the message deliverer of choice? Because it’s popular among young people since it’s free and private, unlike social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. Also, police can’t immediately trace the messages like they can with other cellphone devices. Rumor has it President Barack Obama uses the same secure system via his Blackberry to communicate.

Blackberry was asked to shut down its messaging service, but given that 45 million use it worldwide, you can see how that would cause problems.

Lawmaker Tom Watson of Birmingham said that police should take note as to how groups are using social media to organize protests. He said, “The messages and organizational messages can be distributed very quickly. I think that should probably have an impact on the way we do future policing.”

Times are changing how we receive our news and deliver it, good or bad. What do you think police and government officials are learning in the wake of the London riots in regards to social media?

 

Social Media Pulls People Together to Clean up After London Riots

Author:
Cleanup London twitter

It’s 2011. How do you reclaim the streets of your city that has been destroyed by riots? You use the power of social media, which is exactly what London is doing.

If you’ve been on Twitter this morning, most likely you have seen that #riotcleanup is a trending topic. Thousands of Londoners and supporters have gone to social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, to do what they can to help. Social media has been proven as a fantastic tool for organizing events and bringing people together for a cause.

Here are a few of the social network accounts in support of getting London back to order after the riots that broke out on Saturday.

  • @RiotCleanup Twitter page – It currently has 74,000+ (and growing) followers and is broadcasting cleanup locations and times, as well as other useful information
  • London Cleanup Facebook page – This page is being used as a central location for information, as well as supporters offering up their kind words and encouragement to the city
  • riotcleanup.co.uk website – This is being updated with riot cleanup information and was put together by a resident of rural Shropshire, England. Although he’s not in London, he saw a need and wanted to help, he told Mashable in an email interview.

Remember the study that showed people who use social networks are actually more connected in real life? I think this shows that networks like Facebook and Twitter can truly bring people together for a cause greater than themselves. Social media isn’t only a way to connect during disasters, but it’s also proving itself to be a reliable resource to bounce back after something like the London riots.

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