Twitter and Facebook may have enjoyed gushing praise for its roles in catalyzing revolutions across the Middle East, but another social network is emerging as a conduit for mayehm in this weekend's riots in London on Saturday night and Sunday evening: BlackBerry Messenger, known better to thumb-typers as BBM.
Over the weekend the Daily Mail's Ian Gallagher and Steven Farrell blamed the pandemonium on Twitter, citing a retweeted picture of burning police car as the fuel that flamed the violence. "As the rioting escalated, trouble-makers on Twitter seemed keen to orchestrate the violence, bringing scores more people into the area. One user calling himself 'English Frank' urged attacks on the police, saying: 'Everyone up and roll to Tottenham f*** the 50 [police]. I hope 1 dead tonight,'" added Gallagher and Farrell.
Looking into Twitter's role, Neal Mann, a Freelance Journalist for Sky News, tried locating the originating Tweets on his Twitter account @fieldproducer, with no success. "Still waiting to see any hard evidence that looters used Twitter to organise, haven't seen a single tweet. Surely not all locked accounts..." Eventually, he found Tweets indicating more happened on BBM than Twitter. "Tweeted at 10am Sunday --> RT @OhioV1 So there has been a bbm broadcast sent around telling people to link up at Enfield Town Station @ 4pm." And, he also found what he believes is an organizing BBM message.