British PM mulls restricting social media after riots

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Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday the government was looking at banning potential troublemakers from using social media, after it was used to organise riots across Britain this week.

"Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organised by social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill," he told lawmakers.

"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 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."

Numerous people have been arrested across Britain for allegedly using Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) to incite violence during the riots that laid waste to parts of London and other major British cities.

Nathan Sinden, 27, appeared in court in Hastings on the southern English coast on Thursday for allegedly inciting criminal damage and burglary.

The court heard that messages included: "Let's start a riot in Hastings. Who is on it?" and "Looting it is then today. Who is up for shopping?"

Police in Hampshire, southern England, have also arrested a man, 27, and woman, 25, on suspicion of using Twitter to incite violence, and a third, 27, for using BBM, an encrypted alternative to texting in which messages can be shared.

© 2011 AFP

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