Home secretary Theresa May meets social media companies to discuss role in rioting


Home secretary Theresa May meets social media companies to discuss role in rioting

Karl Flinders

The Home Office has held a meeting with social media industry executives to discuss ways of preventing social networks being used by criminals.

The meeting with home secretary Theresa May was arranged following the much-publicised role social media played during the recent London riots. Technology such as Blackberry messaging and Twitter were used by rioters to organise the rioting and looting.

A Home Office spokesman said a meeting had taken place and was constructive. "The home secretary - along with the culture secretary and Foreign Office minister Jeremy Browne - has held a constructive meeting with ACPO [Association of Chief Police Officers], the police and representatives from the social media industry," he said.

"The discussions looked at how law-enforcement and the networks can build on the existing relationships and cooperation to crack down on the networks being used for criminal behaviour."

At the time of the riots, prime minister David Cameron said government will crack down on rioters using social networks to communicate. "Mr Speaker, everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organised via social media," Cameron told the House of Commons.

"Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. 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."

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