The Devastating Effect of Social Networking Sites in the London Riots

After viewing the role of social networking sites in the London riots, Twitter, Facebook and RIM will now meet ministers and will discuss on abstaining the people from using these social networking sites during social unrest in a particular area.  This is because social networking sites have become standard tools for calling destructive elements of the society together for mass destruction during riots. They offer instant communications and easy ways for groups of like-minded individuals to come together. Systems such as Twitter’s hash tags make it easy for ad hoc networks to make groups of people of same interest.

A crowd was gathered on the name of peaceful protest, but it went off the track and started anti social activities during the riots. The violence kicked off when police shot down 29-year-old Mark Duggan on Saturday in Tottenham following a peaceful protest. Later this protest grew wild and spread to rest of the parts. Furious mob set alight several vehicles and buildings and clashed with security forces in an impoverished area in North London. The protest was reportedly co-ordinated on social site Facebook.
Social Networking Sites

The BlackBerry smart phones and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter played a key role in spreading the ongoing riot in London. It was a scene that was unseen of or unheard of in UK in recent times, with violence spreading across London and other parts of the city, widespread rioting and arson was reported in various parts of the Britain. BlackBerry Messenger has a very good feature which was used for a wrong cause. Unlike Twitter, where tweets are public broadcasts, or Facebook, where most messages are shared fairly indiscriminately, black berry messenger is private. Most of these messages are point-to-point, seen only by the sender and the receiver. Group messages are also possible; these too are only visible to those sending or receiving them. The entire system is also encrypted, offering less scope for surveillance by the police.

This was the main cause of the crowd of rioters in those areas. RIM insists that it has no way of monitoring or intercepting e-mails sent through its enterprise mail system, but it has provided governments in some countries the ability to eavesdrop on the more consumer-focused blackberry messenger. Social networks are just a tool. Mostly it is used for positive purposes, but these riots are the example of its ill use.