The prime minister of the U.K. David Cameron, has issued a statement that the government is considering banning social media sites, due to the current riots in the country.
The prime minister has justified his stance by saying that the riots had been “organised via social media” He further says , “When people are using social media for violence, we need to stop them.”
While it is indeed certain that misuse of the social media should not be allowed, the idea to ban the social media seems rather simplistic.
It can be argued that when social media did not exist, riots still occurred. In the olden days, people got together in small groups to discuss their strategy and then disseminated the plans in person. Later when the print media came into being, the use of news letters and pamphlets to propagate ideologies and plans was widely used.
In light of this, a blanket ban on the use of social media would be equivalent to ‘shooting the messenger’.
Also such an act would also prevent those with good intentions. There are many people who are using the same platforms to propagate peace and to help those affected by the riots.
It has now been decided that representatives of Facebook, Twitter and RIM are to meet with the home secretary Theresa May to discuss the steps they can take to prevent the anti-social elements from spreading further arson, as well as to discuss how these websites can be of use to detect those who are responsible for the mayhem caused.
These sites have gladly agreed to meet with the authorities and extend full cooperation to deal with the current crisis.
On the other hand, groups that advocate that people have the freedom to use all media to interact with each other have opposed the idea of banning the social media, and have even compared the move to what governments in places like China and Saudi Arabia may do.