U.K. Government Examines Facebook's Role In Riots

Facebook is on the list of social networks that will be called on the carpet by U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May as part of her investigation of social media's role in the riots in London and throughout England this week.

Facebook is on the list of social networks that will be called on the carpet by U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May. She is investigating social media’s role in the riots in London and throughout England this week.

Twitter and BlackBerry parent Research in Motion will also make appearances.

In fact, the social networks are top of mind at the highest levels of government in the U.K., as The Next Web reported that Prime Minister David Cameron prematurely ended his holiday and will order Parliament to do the same as a result of the issue.

Cameron said in a statement to the press Tuesday morning, as reported by The Next Web:

Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organized via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. And when people are using social media for violence, we need to stop them. So we are working with the police, the intelligence services, and the industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder, and criminality.

The problem was, police were facing new circumstances, in that rioters were using BlackBerry — a closed network — so we have to examine that and figure out a way to get ahead of them.

Are we going to give police the power to track activity on Facebook, BlackBerry and Twitter?

Readers: Should governments have the right to shut down social networks in times of crisis?