Facebook, Twitter + RIM to meet with UK government to discuss roles in riot prevention | News

Executives from Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion are meeting the home secretary Theresa May at a Home Office summit this afternoon (Thursday 25th August) to discuss how to prevent social networks from being used during times of civil unrest.

The Guardian are reporting that they are expected to stand firm against government ministers’ calls to ban people from social networks or shut their websites down to prevent social networks from being used to plot violence. This comes after claims that young criminals co-ordinated the looting that occurred across the UK using Facebook, Twitter and BBM (Blackberry messenger) and Prime Minister David Cameron has said police and intelligence services are looking at whether there should be limits on the use of social media sites or services like BlackBerry Messenger in times of disorder.

In response, Twitter and Facebook are expected to outline the steps that they’ve both already take to remove messages that potentially incite violence. Facebook, which has 30 million users in the UK said in a statement:

“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,” the company said in a statement. Research in Motion who is responsible for BlackBerry will explain to the government which parts of its BBM service are private or encrypted

A Home Office spokeswoman said there was “no suggestion” the sites would be closed down but she said the meeting would discuss “whether and how we should be able to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”

Last week two men were jailed for four years for using Facebook to incite disorder although neither of their posts resulted in any riot related event.

[Huffington Post/The Guardian]