posts about or somewhat related to ‘riots’

Even the BBC took up the social media panic discourse on August 9th and reported about the power of social media to bring together not only five, but 200 people for forming a rioting “mob”. Media and politicians created the impression that the riots were orchestrated by “Twitter mobs”, “Facebook mobs” and “Blackberry mobs”… A few month ago we had “Twitter revolutions” and “Facebook revolutions” in Egypt and Tunisia, one now hears about “social media mobs” in the UK. So what to make of these claims?…

…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.

British Government Wants Social Network Meeting →

Via the BBC:

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.


 
If We’re Turning Off Social Media, I Want News Channels Shut Down, Too
That might be a valid complaint, and even the most synergistic of social media gurus would have to admit — between creating engaging integrated solutions, no doubt — that Twitter wasn’t exactly a paragon of truth and accuracy during the riots, but you can hardly pin the blame solely on social media when rolling news channels like BBC News 24 and Sky News are running looped footage of burning buildings, overlaid with interviews with those who’d lost property and possessions in the looting. It might have been passed through an editorial filter, but continually presenting the worst of the footage creates a very skewed representation of reality.

 

If We’re Turning Off Social Media, I Want News Channels Shut Down, Too

That might be a valid complaint, and even the most synergistic of social media gurus would have to admit — between creating engaging integrated solutions, no doubt — that Twitter wasn’t exactly a paragon of truth and accuracy during the riots, but you can hardly pin the blame solely on social media when rolling news channels like BBC News 24 and Sky News are running looped footage of burning buildings, overlaid with interviews with those who’d lost property and possessions in the looting. It might have been passed through an editorial filter, but continually presenting the worst of the footage creates a very skewed representation of reality.

If riot info and fear is spreading by Facebook and Twitter, shut them off for an hour or two, then restore. World won’t implode.

Tory MP Louise Mensch, The Telegraph. UK riots: teenager charged with BlackBerry incitement.

Yesterday we noted an article from GigaOm that England is considering shutting down social networks in order to disrupt and ultimately halt “unrest”.

But social networks weren’t the only platforms considered. The government was hoping to get help from Research in Motion in order to target those using its Blackberry Messenger Service.

Done. Today, an 18-year-old was accused of intentionally encouraging “the commission of an offense under [England’s] Serious Crime Act 2007” by sending messages via her phone.

Yesterday a 27-year-old man was arrested for doing the same.

This comes days after RIM promised England’s authorities that it would help “in any way we can”.

As the Telegraph reports:

Police already have powers to access stored data and monitor social networks in real time under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. Nevertheless, in his speech to Parliament yesterday, David Cameron said new powers were under consideration.

Blaming the tools: Britain proposes a social-media ban →

Via Matthew Ingram, GigaOm:

It seems totalitarian states like Egypt and Libya aren’t the only ones struggling with the impact of social media and the desire to muzzle services like Twitter and Facebook. In the wake of the riots in London, the British government says it’s considering shutting down access to social networks — as well as Research In Motion’s BlackBerry messenger service — and is asking the companies involved to help. Prime Minister David Cameron said not only is his government considering banning individuals from social media if they are suspected of causing disorder, but it has asked Twitter and other providers to take down posts that are contributing to “unrest.”

The British PM also said he has asked the police whether they need any new powers to stop the violence, including the ability to shut down social networks or communications services if they believe these tools are being used to incite unrest.

Picture of the Day: A masked man on the streets of Hackney where a car burns out of control on the third day of street disturbances across London. Photograph: Kerim Okten/EPA.
Photo and caption from the front page of the Tuesday August 9, 2011 edition of the Guardian.
I like the photo so much I’m uploading without the rest of the front page from the last post. You should be able to click it to see the biggie version.

Picture of the Day: A masked man on the streets of Hackney where a car burns out of control on the third day of street disturbances across London. Photograph: Kerim Okten/EPA.

Photo and caption from the front page of the Tuesday August 9, 2011 edition of the Guardian.

I like the photo so much I’m uploading without the rest of the front page from the last post. You should be able to click it to see the biggie version.