Twitter Didn't Start the Fire

28 Aug 2011

Christian Fuchs writing on the UK Riots:

Calls for more police, surveillance, crowd control and the blames of popular culture and social media are helpless. It is too late once riots erupt. One should not blame social media or popular culture, but the violent conditions of society for the UK riots. The mass media’s and politics’ focus on surveillance, law and order politics and the condemnation of social media will not solve the problems. A serious discussion about class, inequality and racism is needed.

The cause of these riots cannot be boiled down to a single action nor can the communication tools that were used be held any more responsible than liquor stores or gas stations. Is it possible that social media made it easier for the rioters to execute their plans? Of course. Likewise, lighters make it easier to turn gasoline into flame, but I did not hear Prime Minister Cameron denouncing Bic.

Blaming Twitter or BlackBerry Messenger makes for an easy and sexy headline, but doing so obscures the social, political, and economic reasons behind the riots.

(Via sea love)