Majority Support Social Network Blackout in Future Riots

Two-thirds of people surveyed in the U. K. support the temporary shutdown of services such as Twitter and Facebook in future riots in order to stem the spread of unrest.


What's the Latest Development?

A poll of 973 Britons found that 70% supported the shutdown of Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) during periods of social unrest such as the riots in England this summer. Freedom of expression campaigners expressed fears about this willingness to sanction "draconian measures as ever more services shift online... These kinds of actions would weaken the UK's position against authoritarian regimes who censor internet access."

What's the Big Idea?

The Guardian's analysis of 2.5m tweets relating to the riots found scant evidence that Twitter had been used to instigate unrest. The BBM network, however, is believed to have played a role. The Index on Censorship said most of the social network use involved people sharing information, particularly on how to get home safely.

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