Saturday, 22 September 2012

Should social media have restrictions?

Social media is a massive part of the lives of many people all over the world. Should there be limits to the content that people can put on their social networking site?

There have been a tonne of arrests made due to people's use of twitter. After the London riots, police used social media to track down people who had been stealing from stores. A man made a threat to an airline on twitter about planting a bomb at the airport and was arrested. Even a teenager was arrested after sending abusive messages to Tom Daley, the olympic swimmer, on Twitter.

tom daley twitter

The latest news has been the fan pages for the killers of two British policewomen in Greater Manchester. Fans have created a Facebook page that praised the murderer. However, the condolences page has received far more support than this malicious page in support of the murderer. But are the people creating this page intending to appear controversial, just silly teenagers who aren't thinking, or do they have a more evil intent? Read more here.

The Colardo killer who shot people during a batman film also had facebook pages in support of him. This could be linked to the unusual circumstances of the killings, the fact they were linked to a film, or an extension of support for the film. If the man in question was unaware of his actions, these support pages would seem merely poor taste.The situation becomes slightly more disturbing with the knowledge that the killer defended his sanity and stated that his attack was a planned event. More about the Colorado killer facebook fanpage here.

collorado killer facebook

These fansites have been allowed to continue due to the right people have of freedom of speech. There must be a place to draw this line. If people were planning terrorist attacks on social media, or showing support for terrorist organisations, the authorities would step in. On the other hand, by having these conversations in a place where everybody can view them, people can also interact. I haven't seen these support pages, and don't really want to, but it is my guess that people are writing on their walls how appalled they are by the group and stating the reasons why the creators are wrong. If people are putting bad stuff out there, people will also be correcting it.

As to people being arrested due to ill-thought-out twitter messages, I find this a little extreme. I guess the police have to take things seriously in case something does happen that they ignored. People should think about what they are typing for all to see, and remember, you're not chatting to your friends in the pub when you write on the internet: you're putting it out there for the whole world to access.

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