Twitter and BBM involvement in UK riots

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Riots that started in London have now spread to other British cities, such as Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Manchester.

It has been said that networks such as Facebook, Twitter and BBM have helped organise some of the riots.  Police say that the main culprit however is BBM; BlackBerrys Messenger service as it is/was thought that messages cannot be traced, although Blackberry have said that they will help police to trace people which is a little confusing?

I am surprised that if the police felt so strongly that BBM was to blame for the start of the London Riots that it still hasn’t been blocked, or shut down. Or is it now because now they have Blackberry to help track people, police want the looters to use it.

I assume though that police will see from phone records of those arrested, who those people have been contacted by or contacted to arrange the meet ups, via text or BBM.

I do believe that Twitter has been detrimental to the riots, but from a small minority of people,  mostly people thought they were helping.  Suffice to say that although this messaging didn’t help it certainly wasn’t the cause.

I did notice some strange tweets that could have been said to have been organising locations, from kids that had obviously just signed up to twitter. One particular tweet I contacted the Rt’r who uses the hashtag #croydon to retweet and sent the message to spam. Other messages with false information on riots being retweeted by others that thought it was actually happening.  It could be that looters turned up there to see what was going on, and it started from there.  This can be said of a lot rioted area’s.   Apart from that, there is a lot of rubbish being tweeted on twitter at the moment about UKriots; hit spam and don’t RT.

Please do not spread false rumours !

Obviously the real information on Twitter was very important for many people, we had live news of road closures and what places to avoid.  The main message  here is don’t re-tweet anything unless its 100% confirmed, its not helping its harming.   Even the police are putting this message out to users now.

The news isn’t all bad for Twitter though – since the start of this there has been a clean up operation organised though the hash tag #riotcleanup  or @riotcleanup which was the brain child of Dan Thompson from Worthing. This clean up operation has taken off so well, with Tweeters rushing out to help clean up our cities, it has now got the attention of the media and celebrities are even involved.

Facebook has  helped by first a looter proudly showing his loot on his profile pic – and secondly by police or users posting videos or photographs of looters or rioters, one already turned himself in after seeing himself in one of these videos.

Also the police are now all over twitter, giving out information and advice and more importantly posting videos and pictures of looters asking the Twitter community if they know who these people are, which everyone is sharing.

For the best information on UK riots and how to help –  follow the police on Twitter, don’t believe all the tweets you read.  Follow @metpoliceuk  @GMpolice @sussex_police @essexpoliceUK @northants999  @lancspolice to find your local police on Twitter a good way it to type in google police “area” twitter

Remember, don’t spread false rumours, its important.

Hope this helps