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Facebook and Twitter to oppose calls for social media blocks during riots

In Big Brother, Europe News on August 24, 2011 at 7:18 pm

By Josh Halliday

Facebook and Twitter are preparing to stand firm against government ministers’ calls to ban people from social networks or shut their websites down in times of civil unrest.

The major social networks are expected to offer no concessions when they meet the home secretary, Theresa May, at a Home Office summit on Thursday lunchtime.

Ministers are expected to row back on David Cameron’s call for suspected rioters to be banned from social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, following the riots and looting across England a fortnight ago.

The home secretary will explore what measures the major social networks could take to help contain disorder – including how law enforcement can more effectively use the sites – rather than discuss powers to shut them down. The acting Metropolitan police commissioner, Tim Godwin, and the Tory MP Louise Mensch have separately explored the idea of shutting down websites during emergencies.

The technology companies will strongly warn the government against introducing emergency measures that could usher in a new form of online censorship. Attacks on London landmarks, including the Olympics site and Westfield shopping centres, were thwarted earlier this month after police managed to intercept private BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) posts – suggesting that leaving networks running can provide…

Full article…

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