Did Facebook do enough to stop Glasgow riots - or was it the community?

I was pointed at a Facebook group called Glasgow Riot FRIDAY 12TH AUGUST 2011 last night by a horrified colleague.

As you can see; that group is still there.

Last night it was easy to track down the Group’s creator. He had been busy adding people and was given a credit on the Group’s wall. His Facebook name was “first name surname (hang Neil Lennon). I’m not sure why I’m censoring the idiot’s name; but I am. This morning his Facebook page was gone. He is, however, back already with another account, using his full first name and a sectarian violence image as a profile picture.

So, what happened? Did Facebook finally spot the incitement to murder on the original Facebook page and decide to take the profile down. I don’t think so.

It worked too. The second account of our Glasgow idiot returned to say;

The thing to keep in mind is that Facebook’s Groups are stupid. The system is broken. You don’t join a Group. The Group joins you. All it takes is for one football idiot to add you to a riot group and you’re there.

Rather pleasingly, some people seem to have misjudged the reaction from their friends who they added to the group, perhaps, as a joke. The community is in conflict, not everyone thinks it’s a “laugh”.

I’m not sure Facebook took action on the original account at all. I think it was burnt by the owner once the police were involved. I’m sure plenty of people are reporting the group and perhaps some individuals as I blog so, hopefully, Facebook will act.

Let’s be clear. This is not a social media encourages riots post.

Watching the dramatic TV footage yesterday showed me just how many of these misguided kids were using bikes to zip about. Indeed, I heard at least one call to the BBC News which made mention of how the gangs were using bikes to move around quickly.

I’ve yet to see any tabloid suggest that bikes encourage or enable riots.

I also heard at least one call into BBC News, from a journalist on the ground, who described gangs of youths with mobile phones and “Facebook apps” coordinating the attacks. All I can say is that he must have been awfully close to recognise the Facebook app on the tiny mobile screen held by the rioter. I suspect he was generalising, or perhaps misunderstanding, but either scenario leads public opinion down the path of inaccuracy.

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