Social media blamed for Manchester riot

Social media under the microscope

Social media has been accused of helping coordinate the Manchester riot.

On Tuesday, 9 August 2011, hundreds of looters descended on Manchester city centre and neighbouring Salford, breaking windows and fighting police officers. Many media commentators on programmes like the Channel 4 News, 5 Live Drive and BBC North West Tonight were quick to point the finger at social media, suggesting that sites like Twitter and Facebook had been used by gangs in the Manchester riot to plan their targets.

However, while specific tweets and Facebook wall messages prove that social media was used by looters, there are also countless examples of the medium being employed for more positive ends. The official Greater Manchester Police Twitter account was widely praised for giving authoritative reports on the many rumours circulating last night, and today it is calling on members of the public to submit any videos and photos they have of the Manchester riot.

Coordinating the response on social media

Thousands of people also expressed their outrage on social media, with footage from the Manchester riot shared repeatedly in an effort to identify the culprits through crowdsourcing. And this morning has seen crowds flock to the centre to help with the aftermath

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