Facebook… Twitter… Tools for Troublemakers and Terrorists?

Wow!

There’s been a lot of news in the UK recently about how “Social Networks” have become the new tools for anarchists, troublemakers and terrorists…

Just look at BBC News yesterday (click through for the full article):

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Twitter was also labelled a potentially dangerous tool, with police considering a temporary shutdown of the service:

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So – it appears that, yet again, new technology is a large part to blame for the ills of today’s society.

What utter tosh!

It appears that the police, politicians and certain segments of the media have yet again failed to understand that technology is merely a medium for content.  Let’s face it – Facebook and Twitter help to connect people together – nothing more and nothing less.  If we had found out that certain subsets of the London rioters had coordinated their gatherings through (voice on) mobile phones, would we not scoff at the idea of the police proposing to shut down the mobile networks for a period of time?  So what makes Twitter exceptionally bad?  It’s just a different (and newer) medium of communication, after all…

I still remember the early days of the Internet – when the public and press were sceptical to this brave, new, connected world wide web.  Just over a decade ago, the Internet was perceived by some to be nothing more than a festering cesspit of porn, paedophilia and instructions on how to build bombs.  At least we’ve grown out of that mind-set!

Common sense dictates that if you find people inciting unrest on Facebook or Twitter, then you close down those particular accounts, not the medium.  Just as you’d take down a racism-inciting web or blog page, and not over-react by blocking the entire Internet.

Hopefully the stone-age technophobes come to their senses and understand that we shouldn’t be criticising the medium, but rather focussing efforts on those who are abusing the medium.  Facebook and Twitter are no different from mobile networks or anything broadcast over the airwaves – it’s just a newer, faster way of connecting people…

In short – I will be indignantly outraged if I read any more headlines like the one below

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