In a knee-jerk reaction to UK riots, Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested barring “troublemakers” from social media tools, a move that is reminiscent of the Egyptian network shutdowns during civilian unrest last year.
Cameron has tasked Home Secretary Theresa May with investigating possible measures to curb social networking. She will meet with executives of Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion to discuss what plans might be put in place.
The UK government is looking at the role social media played in organising the recent riots, Cameron told a special debate in Parliament.
“When people are using social media for violence we need to stop them,” he says. “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 Web sites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.”
The moves have been met with incredulity and even ridicule, with analysts saying censorship would be difficult to manage and could be a violation of freedom.