Why The Vilification of Social Media Has to Stop

August 12, 2011 by  
Filed under Features & Editorials

Nationwide riots have exposed the gaping holes in our leaders’ understanding of social media. Read an extract from my latest opinion piece for TrustedReviews below. You’ll find a link to the full article at the end.

Why The Vilification of Social Media Has to Stop

  • By Gordon Kelly
  • 11 August 2011

Bans, aren’t they brilliant. Websites,Internet Access and now social media. There have been similar thoughts in the past, they involved book burning – so it is probably a good thing they’re going digital.

“Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organised via social media,” said Prime Minister David Cameron, speaking on Thursday to a specially reconvened parliament after a week of London riots. “Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill and 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 websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality. I have also asked the police if they need any other new powers.”
Presumably some of those powers would include stopping potential rioters sending SMS, writing on online forums, using telephones and the postal service. Perhaps he could ban access to word of mouth, or would that just be silly?

The sad truth is what Cameron says is no less silly. Much as MP3, eBooks and AVIs are digital music, books and films; Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) are digitised communication. It is no easier to ban access to them than to ban free speech itself. A new Twitter account can be created in under a minute while the free fall of RIM from the boardroom to the street means pre-pay BlackBerrys can be bought in little longer. Furthermore acquiring both can be done without divulging your real information. READ ON

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