AfterDawn: Tech news

Social networks to meet with UK Home Secretary

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 19 Aug 2011 11:49

Social networks to meet with UK Home Secretary Theresa May requests meeting with representatives of social networks.
The meeting will take place next Thursday, and will discuss the role of the social networking sites in the recent riots across England. Facebook, Blackberry and Twitter have been asked to attend, though only Facebook has officially confirmed that it will attend the meeting.

"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 for people in the UK at this challenging time," it said in a statement.

BlackBerry has not officially confirmed that it will attend, but previously suggested that it would welcome talks. Twitter has not addressed the issue at all, and didn't respond to a BBC question about its attendance.

Some rioters used services like Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry's BBM instant messaging system to organize their activities during the riots. UK Prime Minister David Cameron hinted that the government would draw up plans for limiting access to such services in the event of further unrest.

"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," the Prime Minister said whilst addressing Parliament.

Social networks were also praised for how they affected the incidents however. A clean-up campaign, organized on Twitter, got people out onto the streets cleaning up broken glass and other debris. Facebook also pointed out that while some users did attempt to incite violence, more users stood up to them by reporting their comments to authorities or Facebook's own moderators.

Earlier this week, two men were jailed for four years for attempting to incite violence through Facebook, during the riots.

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