Social networks asked to visit UK Home Office after riots

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shop on fire in Tottingham, London as a result of "Flash Mob" rioting.
Image: Andy Armstrong.

Representatives of leading social network platforms have been asked to attend a meeting at the United Kingdom's Home Office to discuss their role in the recent UK riots. The meeting, scheduled to take place on Thursday, comes after rioters used the networks to further fuel violence and looting that occurred earlier this month.

Officials from Facebook have confirmed that they will be present, but Twitter has yet to indicate whether they will attend. BlackBerry Messenger has suggested that it might attend.

"We look forward to meeting with the home secretary to explain the measures we have been taking to ensure that Facebook is a safe and positive platform for people in the UK at this challenging time," Facebook said in a statement given to the BBC.

A series of individuals have been arrested and are now being charged for using online networking platforms to provoke riots. Two of those already charged include Jordon Blackshaw, 21, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, who last Wednesday were each sentenced to four years imprisonment.

The four-year sentences have been considered the most severe punishment handed down amidst the recent UK riots. Presiding over the case, Judge Elgan Edwards stated that he hoped the sentences would serve as deterrents to similar unrest.