Executives at the main social media networks and messaging outlets – Facebook, Twitter and RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) – have been called to meet Home Office ministers on Thursday to discuss their products’ usage in the UK riots.
Last week, rioters caused destruction across London and later Manchester, Salford, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and Nottingham, often using the social networks to organise large groups of people to join in.
Two men were sentenced on Wednesday to four years in prison for inciting violence on Facebook. The government is also considering steps to block suspected rioters’ access to the social networks, an announcement that was followed by an angry response from human rights groups.
So far however, only Facebook has confirmed its attendance, the BBC reported. It 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 Metropolitan Police has said it pre-empted attacks on Oxford Street in London and elsewhere, after communications with Twitter and RIM.