Within 10 days of the riots in the
UK a judge sentenced two young men, 20
and 22, to 4 years in jail for using Facebook. Without question Social
Media has transformed communications and impacted the UK riots, but one might
wonder if the courts may have acted too swiftly. Here's
what the Guardian reported:
Blackshaw, 20, set up an "event" called Smash Down in Northwich Town
for the night of 8 August on the social networking site but no one apart from
the police, who were monitoring the page, turned up at the pre-arranged meeting
point outside a McDonalds restaurant. Blackshaw was promptly arrested.
Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, of Latchford, Warrington, used his Facebook account in
the early hours of 9 August to design a web page entitled The Warrington Riots.
The court was told it caused a wave of panic in the town. When he woke up the
following morning with a hangover, he removed the page and apologised, saying
it had been a joke. His message was distributed to 400 Facebook contacts, but
no rioting broke out as a result.
The Judge told the two at sentencing
that their use of Facebook were "evil acts," but many are questioning
how disproportionate these sentences seem to be given all the bad players
in the UK riots.
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