BlackBerry Messenger Fuel London Riots?
0Overall Score

Welcome to Generation Twitter, where a simple tweet and a seemingly innocent BlackBerry can fuel a revolution.

And that is just what appears to have happened on the streets of London over the weekend, several leading politicians and British Metropolitan Police believe.


The riots, which kicked off in the north London suburb of Tottenham on Saturday afternoon, following the mistaken shooting of a local youth by police, was followed by street protests against police, outside High Road police station. 

However, it quickly escalated into violence with shop looting, widespread public damage and setting fire to businesses quickly gaining currency among disgruntled Londoners. 
And the violence has now spread to areas south of the city on Monday – the latest London suburbs under siege are Croydon, Hackney and Lewisham. 

However, the link between the two events is somewhat unsubstantiated, considering the grim economic climate and public serivce cuts besieging Britain, at present. 

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) the instant messaging service was picked out as a particular tool of choice by rioters, which saw users communicate future riot locations to one another.
Twitter, Facebook also played their part, although the sheer beauty of BBM is that it can only be shared among users and not  within online public forums. 
Over one third of British youths own a BlackBerry smartphone. 
One BBM sent on Sunday, which called “everyone from all sides of London “to vandalise shops on Oxford street, according to Guardian reports. 

“Everyone from all sides of London meet up at the heart of London (central) OXFORD CIRCUS!!, Bare SHOPS are gonna get smashed up so come get some (free stuff!!!) fuck the feds we will send them back with OUR riot! >:O Dead the ends and colour war for now so if you see a brother… SALUT! if you see a fed… SHOOT!,” one BBM message said. 

The finger is also being pointed at Twitter users, with one of the top dogs in the Met, deputy assistant commissioner, Steve Kavanagh, hinting he would consider arresting users of the micro blogger who incited violence, BBC reports.

 


“Once someone starts posting on a BBM group or Twitter, a lot of young people try to follow the trend,” he told BBC News.

“They might not join the actual event, but they might talk about it or use the same hashtag which makes it sound like there is a lot more volume.”

However, The Guardian suggests Facebook users were also on the money, with 7500 joining an action group before 10.30pm on Saturday evening – just several hours after the initial Tottenham protest. 
BlackBerry UK said today they were assisting police with their enquiries. 


“We feel for those impacted by the riots in London. We have engaged with the authorities to assist in any way we can,” BlackBerry UK tweeted earlier today. 


The troubled phone maker is already in the doldrums in its struggle against iPhone and Android, although the popularity of the BlackBerry among youths may a be a surprise to many (and could give the ailing brand gain some street cred, however unwelcome). 

Just recently the BlackBerry makers, Research In Motion, announced an update to its instant messaging service, BBM 6, and only last week announced in the coming months it was releasing five new smartphones globally, BlackBerry Bold and Torch models.