Twitter U-Turn: Meeting UK Government Over Social Media Riots

The UK riots are pretty much over now but there is still an investigation into the role that social media played in the chaos. The huge amount of people that decided to rebel, loot and destroy mostly used social networking services like Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger to organize their attacks. These companies are now set for a meeting with the UK government.

Research In Motion and Facebook had confirmed they would be happy to join the meeting, but Twitter were not too keen and said they “would be happy to listen”, Mashable reports. It seems now that events have taken a turn and the microblogging service will be represented at the talks. The meeting is being led by home secretary Theresa May and other MPs. It was suggested that during the riots, these social networks were in danger being temporarily banned.

As you can imagine an outage would have caused absolute outrage to the innocent who use the site. Prime Minister David Cameron did however state that when social media was being used to organize violence, it must be stopped. The government has never ruled out a ban on these social networks but it seems very unlikely and would only be used if absolutely necessary. It was also suggested that if possible, only those suspected of trouble making would be banned.

Many people have said that banning these social sites will have the opposite effect, making the riots even worse. Free speech is important and you only need to look at Libya and Egypt to see this, censorship is not the right way. All of the social media sites who had their services used for wrong have all said they will co-operate with officials. What kind of action do you think the government should take to ensure social media is not abused again?