Technology and the Riots

17Aug11

Following the riots in Britain, many media commentators have pointed to technology and social media as not only mere tools used by rioters but even the ‘cause’ of the trouble.

According to The Telegraph, technology ‘fuelled’ the riots and was used to ‘incite’ and film the violence. The Economist called them ‘The Blackberry riots’.

You Tube, Facebook, Twitter, Blackberry. They were all pointed as inanimate ‘instigators’ of the chaos in London, Manchester and beyond. BBC reported the British government is considering plans to turn off text messaging and social networks during disturbances.

But technology has not just allowed rioters to organise themselves, it has also allowed the public to gather for the post-riot clean up, it let us follow events also from the victims’ point of view and even track down the trouble makers. Facebook posts have led to arrests and facial recognition technology is being used to identify looters on www.identifyrioters.co.uk  

We can’t deny technology and social networks have played an important role in the organisation of the violence but they have also been put to good use by journalists and members of the general public so they can deal with the effects, turn the events into something positive and move on.

What do you think?

Here’s a good analysis from the BBC  



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