London riots: Twitter says all tweets must continue to flow
Twitter has refused to shut down the accounts of any of the London rioters using the service to incite hatred or violence, saying that the tweets must continue to flow, as per its statement earlier this year.
Talking to The Daily Telegraph, a Twitter spokesman stuck to the company’s line that the tweets must continue to flow, referring to a blog post written by the service’s co-founder Biz Stone at the start of this year.
The spokesman referred to the post, which is entitled 'The Tweets Must Flow', when asked by The Telegraph as to whether any rioters' accounts had or would be shut down. It says: “Our goal is to instantly connect people everywhere to what is most meaningful to them. For this to happen, freedom of expression is essential.
“Some tweets may facilitate positive change in a repressed country, some make us laugh, some make us think, some downright anger a vast majority of users. We don't always agree with the things people choose to tweet, but we keep the information flowing irrespective of any view we may have about the content.”
Twitter’s spokesman refused to reveal whether the company was working with the police to help locate people who have used the service to organise lootings and riots.
They also refused to disclose whether they had already handed over contact details of certain Twitter users to the authorities.
During the Arab revolutions earlier this year, attention focused on Twitter’s role in organising the protests, but for the looters and rioters of Tottenham, Enfield and Brixton, the communications tool of choice has apparently been BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). It appears to have acted as their private, encrypted social network over the past two nights’ violence.
However, many of the rioters have also used Twitter as a platform to announce their next targets and as a rallying cry to fellow looters.
The police are now understood to be scouring all tweets which have incited hatred or violence and have promised to bring their original authors to justice.