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social media – its role in the riots

11 August 2011

Its apparent that social media has been used extensively by those involved in the riots to organise and incite unrest. BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) has been the most popular method of communication with messages then being posted on social network sites like Twitter and Facebook to increase circulation.

Research in Motion, the maker of BlackBerry and a global leader in wireless technology, has committed to assist the authorities ‘in any way it can’ and the police have said they will track down and arrest those who have posted ‘really inflammatory’ messages on BBM and social network sites.

However, its going to be a difficult task due to the number of messages involved, potential resistance from media companies to handover user details and, because BBM messages are usually encrypted when they leave the sender’s phone making tracing calls difficult.
The police will have to adapt their own policing methods to tackle this use of technology as a means of organising unlawful activities.

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