Social Media Taking Heat For UK Riots
In case you’ve been under a rock the past couple of weeks, mass riots are taking place across the pond in the UK. Why they’re rioting isn’t really important for this post so I won’t go into it. I think it has something to do with classism or something to that effect. Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron however is taking dead aim at social media, placing a lot of the blame for these riots onto the shoulders of Facebook, Twitter, and Blackberry makers Research in Motion (RIM). Cameron has even gone as far as considering a ban on social media for some individuals. Basically he says that a “free flow of information” can be used for “ill will.”
It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the protestors were using social media as a means to coordinate their activities. This same issue arose not too long ago with the revolution in Egypt. Many of there will tell you Facebook and Twitter didn’t start a revolution but it did help foster the cause. You can’t punish social media for that because people are simply using the tools at their disposal. Oh yea, then there’s that whole freedom of speech aspect that comes into play. That’s not exactly a minor detail. If you think people in the UK are rioting now, try taking away their Facebook and Twitter then witness that anarchy and chaos. That was a little tongue-in-cheek but you get the idea. Representatives of Facebook and Twitter said they’re happy to meet with the government, although both would presumably object to being censored or shut down in the UK.
Cameron is just looking for a scapegoat. It’s quite obvious people are upset but this violence we are witnessing is completely unacceptable on all levels. That being said, Facebook didn’t chunk a brick through a windshield and Twitter didn’t light a building on fire. You can’t censor people’s freedom of speech over the poor choices of a few. Come on Prime Minister, you’re better than that.