Prime Minister David Cameron is considering blocking the use of Facebook, Twitter, and Blackberry Messenger in order to help stop the ongoing vandalism and violent looting across London.
“Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organized via social media,” Cameron told Parliament after organizing a debate to talk about the riots. “Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. When people are using social media for violence we need to stop them. So we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these Web sites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality,” he said.
According to The Guardian, a 20-year-old woman has been charged after she had allegedly posted an invitation on Facebook to hold a riot in Wakefield, England. She is now being held under the 2007 Serious Offenses Act and will have a hearing on August 24. Two teenagers were sent to jail in Scotland after being charged as well in another separate, similar incident.
While Facebook and Twitter have been used, The Guardian reports that much of the unrest over the past week has been organized through Blackberry Messenger, which is an instant message system that can be accessible to Blackberry users using a PIN code. Many law enforcement officials are now tracking the broadcasts in order to try to prevent future incidents from occurring.
In addition, The Guardian is asking citizens to report any violence they may notice or be aware of using the same Messenger software, by typing the name “Paul” on their keypad with the PIN code 22416EC1.