Monday, August 8, 2011

Social media helps coordinate London riots

A London neighborhood was rocked by rioting over the weekend. Then the trouble spread to others. 

Worth noting are these excerpts from posts from the UK Guardian:
There is no doubt that that BBM — Blackberry Messenger — is being used to organise disturbances. Again, I've had multiple sources confirm that this BBM message, encouraging people to loot in Enfield Town, was widely disseminated as early as 2pm on Sunday
Using BlackBerry handsets – the smartphone of choice for the majority (37%) of British teens, according to last week's Ofcom study – BBM allows users to send one-to-many messages to their network of contacts, who are connected by "BBM PINs".
And unlike Twitter or Facebook, many BBM messages are untraceable by the authorities (which is why, in large part, BBM is so favoured by Emirati teens to spread illicit gossip about officialdom).
There's a lesson here. Those intent on creating havoc have new tools at their disposal. Social media now gives riot instigators the kind of instant, far reaching command and control communications once available only to police or military.  

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