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Although no one really understands what the riots were about, not even the rioters themselves, it is clear something is wrong. As with any great tragedy a scapegoat has arisen. Just as Judas Priest were wrongly blamed for the suicide of a few fans or television and video games are frequently blamed for horrendous murders, social media has been blamed for fuelling the riots.
Now I'm not saying that Twitter and Facebook weren't used by rioters to encourage their peers to join them, but I'm pretty sure more traditional means of communication were also used. Social Networking sites were not the only way people found out about the riots, the hideous images and footage dominated our newspapers and televisions for days, how many youths do you think joined in as a result?
Our country has rioted many times without the use of social media, think about the Poll Tax riots or the Brixton riots. But how many times before this have communities got together to have a mass clean up? What social media did facilitate was a unity between the victims and the good hearted people of this country, from all walks of life. Together they reclaimed their streets and tried their best to clean up the damage caused by the disillusioned youth.
Social Media has also helped raise money for some of the victims to rebuild their livelihood. Aaron Biber, 89, had his barbershop destroyed by the rioters and after 41 years of having his shop in Tottenham had said "I will probably have to close because I haven't got insurance and I can't afford the repairs,". But thanks to some interns at London advertising agency, BHH, the blog Keep Aaron Cutting has raised over £14,000 to help Aaron rebuild his business.
In Brighton, instead of tweets encouraging the riots the community kept a vigil over rumours via Twitter and Facebook alerting each other to possible trouble in certain area. Not only did it bring residential Social Media users together but it also built a relationship with @Sussex_Police. Sussex Police and their associated accounts did a fantastic job keeping all worried residents in the loop answering every tweet and investigating any reported trouble. They also set up a Live Logto give users an hourly update as to anything that was happening in the area. While these awful riots have split communities apart in parts of the country, in Brighton the fear of riots and Social Media have brought the residence and the authorities closer together and as partners saw a man charged for using Facebook to incite criminality. Assistant Chief Constable Nick Wilkinson said: "While there has been a lot of focus on the negative aspects of the use of social media in other parts of the country, in Sussex we have seen how it can be a force for good.
Members of hackivist group Anonymous have vowed to take down Facebook on the 5th November. Anonymous have tweeted to clarify that while some of its members are organizing the upcoming attack against Facebook, the hacker organization as a whole does not necessarily agree with the attack.
Citing users' lack of choice in privacy as it's reason for it's attack, members of Anonymous do not agree with "Facebook selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people all around the world."
Anonymous have claimed participation in nearly every notable hacking attack of this year and successfully broke into 70 law enforcement websites and took down the Syrian Ministry of Defense website this week alone.
Below is a video statement released by Anonymous explaining the reason for the upcoming 'demise' of Facebook.