Social media as an instrument for organizing mass riots in the United Kingdom in August 2011

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Abstract


Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have recently become very popular and turned to be an effective instrument for achieving political goals. However, the social networks’ impact is rather ambivalent: on the one hand, social media form specific political actors and support self-organization and civil movements; on the other hand, social media reinforce destructive and aggressive manifestations with the pronounced criminal purposes, e.g. social media ability to disseminate information among large groups is used to organize mass riots. The article analyzes one of the recent and significant events largely provoked by the social networks - mass riots in the United Kingdom in August 2011 that were originally a reaction to the murder of M. Diggan by a police officer who tried to arrest him as a suspect in drug trafficking and possession of weapons. The way events developed into mass riots was the result of discussions in social media and use of social networks to coordinate joint actions of mass riots participants. The article provides a detailed description of the events and authorities’ actions to overcome the crisis and prevent such riots in the future, thus making some conclusions about the nature of social media impact on the politics.


A N Katkina

Department of the State Policy in the Sphere of Education of Children and the Youth Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation

Author for correspondence.
Email: anna.katkina@gmail.com

аспирантка кафедры европейских исследований Санкт-Петербургского государственного университета

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