British PM Considers Social Network Censorship In The Wake Of London Riots

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d3v

LOL censorship in the so-called free world! Aren't you guys normally the ones invading other countries in the name of freedom?

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TerribleToaster

 

 

1. England hasn't "invaded" anyone in recent times, let alone "for freedom". I believe you were intending for this to be a shot at the US and you didn't realize that England is not a US state, but I know, all those Western countries are all so similar. Just like Japan and China are essentially the same thing, you'll be damned if you have to know the difference between the US and the UK before you post your inflammatory remarks.

 

2. As others have pointed out, this isn't really censorship. You can still say whatever you want, even on your online blog. What you can't do is use major social media services. It's a denial of service (just like when the police cut the power to a building that they are raiding for hostages), and one I don't see as wholly effective solution. But it's a far cry from censorship.

 

 

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MaximumMike

 

Facebook and Twitter are two of the most commonly used forms of transmitting information. I realize there are other mediums, but who are you to define what is an acceptable measure of censorship for me.

 

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TerribleToaster

 

It's not censorship, it's a blackout (which, depending on your views, may be considered much worse). Censorship would be them suppressing the publishing of anything having to do with rioting (regardless of the medium). Instead, they are just preventing people from using one medium entirely. What I’m trying to get across is that they are two different concepts.

 

What should be being discussed is the effectiveness of using a social media blackout as a tool to prevent the spread of rioting, not a citizen’s rights to free speech (rioting isn't covered under free speech, so it's not even a justification anyway). I personally think it would do more harm than good to shut down facebook and twitter in cases like this.

 

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MaximumMike

No, rioting isn't covered under freedom of speech. But it doesn't justify taking away a public forum for speech either. You say that a blackout and censorship aren't the same thing. But that's like saying that a Ferarri and an automobile aren't the same thing. Just because a Ferarri is an extreme, doesn't mean it isn't still an automobile. Supression of speech is censorship, by any credible definition. In several places you have suggested that just because there are other forums for speech, the closing of some doesn't constitute censorship. But a cut is a cut, whether it's a nick or an entire appendage. 

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TerribleToaster

In order for it to be censorship, it needs to have a bias. There is no bias, thus it is not censorship.

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MaximumMike

That's an interesting statement. It sounds nice at first, but it isn't so. The word "bias" carries such a negative connotation that we often forget that there is good bias. For instance, a newspaper may be biased against false statements. Don't scoff. There are newspapers, like The Onion, which are known for their falsities and half truths. The Onion thrives because of the prolific lies it tells. But converseley an encyclopedia has a good reason to be biased against falseties of any kind. The editorial staff of an encyclopedia must work hard to remove subjective and false statements from their publication. Infact, this is a good form of censorship. And although you don't typically think of bias and censorship in this sense, make no mistake that they are very real elements of what an encyclopedia does.

Likewise, the government also has a bias against the speech of those plotting riots. Now, you and I both agree that this is not protected speech. Where we differ is in the thought that it is ok to censor everyone's speech in order to censor the speech of criminals. You're trying to justify your position by pretending that this is not censorship. But you are mistaken on this point.

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TerribleToaster

I don't think any of us have problems dealing with the concept of bias, but I'll rephrase.

Censorship needs direction. This is why I call it a denial of service rather than a censoring. Because otherwise, what are they censoring? A service? Well that is basically the definition of a deinal of service, which is a much broader topic than freedom of speech.

"You're trying to justify your position by pretending that this is not censorship. But you are mistaken on this point."

You seem to be mistaken. My position is that the idea of shutting down facebook and the likes in this case is a terrible idea. However, my reasons for arriving at this conclusion are different. I do believe in freedom of speech and the right to use the internet however, neither of these are technically violated so there use to prove my position would be faulty.  One would have to argue that the ability to use facebook is an inalienable human right, which I don't think makes a strong argument (it's akin to saying everyone has a right to eat McDonalds). I reason that more could be done to contain rioting by keeping these public forums open and then actually censoring them and otherwise using them as a trap. Find rioters gathering on facebook and then go and arrest them. Not only does this make it easier to stop the spread of rioting, but it does not add an inconvenience to those who don't riot.

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MaximumMike

>>Censorship needs direction. This is why I call it a denial of service rather than a censoring. Because otherwise, what are they censoring? A service? Well that is basically the definition of a deinal of service, which is a much broader topic than freedom of speech.

A newspaper could just as easily be considered a service. Stop dodging the issue. How is this different from shutting down a major newspaper? Or do you think that the government shutting down a major newspaper would not be censorship?

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TerribleToaster

No, I don't (obiviously). I don't see how you can think shutting down a news service is the same as altering the actual news itself. There is no misinformation being spread to replace it nor is any news not being reported. Everyone would still hear what they heard before without the government in anyway altering what information was being spread, just how fast it can spread.

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MaximumMike

Here's an even better question. If there exists a written document and I forbid you access to it, is that censorship?

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MaximumMike

So if I understand you correctly, you think that censorship only happens if the message is altered in some way? If that's your position I think you have a pretty narrow understanding of censorship.

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Carlidan

I think you guys are pulling hairs. Is it a form of censorship. Maybe. But what Terrible Toaster is trying to say is  that their government is not censoring their free speech. They are just limiting it when it incities violence or any criminal acts. 

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timmyw

If you limit 'free' speech to only include speech that you agree with then it is no longer free speech but censorship, there is no gray area. I have no doubts that the UK has laws in place against inciting to riot, criminal conspiracy, and subversion.

Those tweets, postings, and videos should prove quite useful at trial in a legitimate court of law. Let the courts decide what is protected free speech and what is not. I don't trust ANY government, third-world or first-world, to make that decision as a matter of policy.

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don2041

I am totaly against censurship, however if a bunch hooligans use it to incite riots etc [ facebook,twitter, or whatever ] steps must be taken to curb comunication between these idiots.

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TerribleToaster

As has been pointed out, if you don't stop facebook and twitter, but instead monitor it, you'll be able to stop the riots (by knowing when and where to strike), rather than only slowing down the gathering for it slightly. Not to mention, as has been said, that the clean up crews are using social media as a tool to help the clean up go faster.

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Nimrod

This type of thing can only happen in places where the people are not armed. If there were a gun in every house the place would not have burned. The number 1 item on Amazon over there were metal baseball bats. Go figure.

The cops did not intervene and now the people are calling for a total police state control grid. They have actually FOOLED the brits into DEMANDING that they be slaves. Now they are taking the same measures as Iran to control the population.

 

This is only the start of things to come i believe.

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Ghok

Have you forgotten that riots do sometimes happen in the US? Over 50 people died in the 1992 LA riots. I'll let you look up how many of those were gun related, my guess is more than how many people have died in England because of these riots.

I am very much against the types of gun laws that England has, but I the idea that they'd be a solution is crazy. Armed gangs aren't an answer.

I agree with the rest of what you say, though.

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Nimrod

Yes from what i remember the people were killed IN the streets.

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TerribleToaster

Oh, you.

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CanoeHead

If a group of dunderheads wants to use a forum that’s about as private as a Times Square billboard to plot a criminal act, doesn’t that make it astonishingly easy to intercept or successfully charge them?

 

If Evil abhors a bright light, let’s leave the bright lights on.  If Evil is dumb enough dance about and crow in the light, then let’s cuff the mugs.

 

My favourite charges in the Toronto G20 riots and the Vancouver ‘hockey’ riots involved the boastful posters and the compulsive video bloggers.

 

They’re never just a little bit stupid, are they?

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ABouman

It's worth noting that many citizens affected by the rioting and those who are participating in the clean-up efforts are also using Twitter to organize - any shut down of social media would have negative effects on those who are using social media in order to help.

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turbogamer1000

this is somewhat unrelated but are those funny things that used to be in the back of the magazine online? and if they are can you please provide a link

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I Jedi

There were riots before the rise of social media, and there will be riots without social media. You can't stop the masses from organizing. In my opinion, this is a form of censorship, and I would absolutely deny it, if I could.

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don2041

You are right but we may be able to slow it down

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SYL808

Temporarily shutting down the social network would cut off rioters communication with each other and give the government time to "patch" things up. But, if UK wants to permanently solve this problem then they need to look into the root of it. 

I am against riot-and any plot of it in the name of freedom or liberty. 

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MaximumMike

You cannot cry fire in a theatre, so I don't understand why people think its ok to plot starting fires on Facebook. That being said, I'm not in favor of cutting off social media either. Now, if they had a way of disabling social media for only people involved in the riots, I might be in favor of that. But most certainly not anything else.

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Brad Chacos

Perhaps prosecuting people who use social networks to plot destruction using existing laws would be a better way to go? Just to continue your analogy, Maximum Mike, you can get in a lot of trouble for shouting fire in a crowded theater (at least in the US), and I imagine people who plot riots over Twitter could get slammed with the British equivalent of conspiracy, as well.

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Neufeldt2002

IMHO England should leave the networks on. One can use the networks the same way that the rioters are. Put a few people on the networks to monitor the talk and then you can meet them where they are. By disconnecting the network they are no better than the dictators that did it. Obviously there is a reason that they are rioting, but if the government doesn't want to do anything about it, what are people supposed to do?

Disclaimer: I, in no way support rioting, I believe that issues can be settled peacefully. If peaceful protests don't work I understand the need for other measures.

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ChatterboxChuck

Yea, so then we should elimiate guns because they can also be used for ill. We should ban cars because they can also be used for ill. We should ban phones because they can be used for ill. We should ban liquor because it can be used for ill.

Helllo, anyone out there? Think McFly, Think.

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TerribleToaster

Slippery slope, dude.

 

I don't think they should shut down social media sites either, but there's no reason to assume any of that.

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