Twitter didn't fuel U.K. riots, study says
Social network was a source for good works, cleanup
Computerworld - Contradicting the U.K. government's contention that social networks helped fuel riots last summer, a study shows that Twitter didn't incite rioters but was actually used as a tool for positive work.
Twitter was not used to encourage people to riot, it was used to help mobilize the post-riot cleanup, according to a study from the Joint Information Systems Committee, a research group composed of educators from U.K. universities.
"Politicians and commentators were quick to claim that social media played an important role in inciting and organizing riots, calling for sites such as Twitter to be closed should events of this nature happen again," said Rob Procter, a professor at the University of Manchester and leader of the study.
The study analyzed tweets that were sent during the rioting.
"But our analysis found no evidence of significance in the data we have analyzed that would justify such a course of action in respect to Twitter," he added. "In contrast, we do find strong evidence that Twitter was a valuable tool for mobilizing support for the post-riot cleanup and for organizing specific cleanup activities."
Riots broke out in August after police shot and killed a 29-year-old man. Rioting and looting quickly spread to cities across the U.K., shaking the country and drawing worldwide attention.
Days after the riots began, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced that he was considering a ban on social networking to help put an end to the riots. In discussions with Scotland Yard and U.K. intelligence agencies, Cameron said the ban was considered so rioters couldn't use social networks to coordinate criminal activity.
However, the Joint Information Systems Committee's study showed that social networks were used more for positive efforts than illegal ones.
"The influence of social media on society is growing rapidly, so we need a much better understanding of their impact on people's lives," said Torsten Reimer, a program manager with the committee. "In the case of Twitter, this means analyzing gigantic amounts of data, constantly created by millions of people, a task that requires new tools and methods."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Web Apps in Computerworld's Web Apps Topic Center.
- How Network Connections Drive Web Application Performance Users around the globe, on all sorts of devices, expect Web applications to function as seamlessly as desktop applications. This paper discusses the...
- Considerations For Effective Software License Management For many reasons, software license management has become a critical issue for many IT organizations and enterprise's alike. With many licensing options, hurdles...
- eBay uses 100% OpenSource WSO2 ESB to process more than 1Billion transactions a day Along with eBay's success comes a huge demand to ensure reliable, 24x7 availability of the services that enable these transactions. For eBay, that...
- A Reference Architecture for the Internet of Things The aim of this is to provide Architects and Developers of IoT projects with an effective starting point that covers the major requirements...
- It's not too late...Get Your Mobile Questions Answered Live! How can IT provide seamless and secure mobile communications and collaboration for all? Join this live Webcast as IDG asks an expert panel...
- Why do you need an enterprise mobile platform? Today companies must offer great apps that run on a range of devices, and connect to an exploding set of backend data. Appcelerator... All Web Apps White Papers | Webcasts