Jan 22, 2012

Twitter and the London Riots

The prolific commentary disseminated via Twitter on the riots in London and other British cities in August 2011 has given rise to the question of whether their reflection in such social media forums may have added to the unrest. Investigators analyzed 600,000 tweets and retweets about the riots for evidence that Twitter was used as a central organizational tool to promote illegal group action. Results indicated that irrelevant tweets died out and that Twitter users retweeted to show support for their beliefs in others’ commentaries. Tweets offered by well-known and popular individuals were more likely to be retweeted. In the case of the British riots, there is little overt evidence that Twitter was used to promote illegal activities at the time, though it was useful for spreading word about subsequent events.
That is the summary of the paper "Twitter, Information Sharing and the London Riots?" by Tonkin, Pfeiffer, and Tourte.

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