…Blaming technology or popular culture for violence –- the Daily Mirror blamed “the pernicious culture of hatred around rap music, which glorifies violence and loathing of authority (especially the police but including parents), exalts trashy materialism and raves about drugs“ for the riots –- is an old and typical ideology that avoids engaging with the real societal causes of riots and unrest and promises easy solutions: policing, control of technology, surveillance.
It neglects the structural causes of riots and how violence is built into contemporary societies. Focusing on technology (as cause of or solution for riots) is the ideological search for control, simplicity and predictability in a situation of high complexity, unpredictability and uncertainty. It is also an expression of fear. It projects society’s guilt and shame into objects. Explanations are not sought in complex social relations, but in the fetishism of things.
— Christian Fuchs, Professor of Media and Communication Studies, Uppsala University: Social Media and the UK Riots.