During talks with Twitter, Facebook and RIM today in response to the riots earlier this month, the UK government backed down on plans to block social networks should another riot occur.
The Guardian reports that the representatives from Twitter, Facebook and RIM, along with the UK Home Secretary Theresa May, agreed early in the meeting that banning social networks during periods of civil unrest would be unwise.
The notion that the government might ban social networks arose when David Cameron said that his government would “do whatever it takes” to prevent future riots from occurring.
The remainder of the one-hour meeting dealt with how law enforcement can more effectively use social networks during emergencies as well as day-to-day operations.
The UK government released a statement about the meeting:
“The discussions looked at how law enforcement and the networks can build on the existing relationships and co-operation to prevent the networks being used for criminal behaviour.”
A spokesperson from Twitter released a statement prior to the meeting, discussing Twitter’s role during emergencies:
“We’ve heard from many that Twitter is an effective way to distribute crucial updates and dispel rumours in times of crisis or emergency.
People also use Twitter as the first place to get information, monitor quickly changing events in real-time, and connect with friends, family and their communities.
“We are always interested in exploring how we can make Twitter even more helpful and relevant during times of critical need.”