Facebook: David Cameron will never shut it down

The rioting in the United Kingdom during August over the controversial shooting of Mark Duggan resulted in RIM's temporary suspension of the BlackBerry Messenger within the UK. After the discovery that acts of violence were organized using the Messenger service, RIM were quick to neutralize the system that helped co-ordinate attacks. According to the Telegraph, executives from Twitter, Facebook and BlackBerry themselves were invited to meet Home Secretary Theresa May after the riots. It was believed that the government would choose to suspend UK access to these networks temporarily.

However, Facebook's European vice-president, Joanna Shields, has suggested the government would never shut down Facebook. Speaking at the Wired 2011 conference in London, Shields was asked if she believed David Cameron would ever suspend Facebook. Her response was "I don't think that's ever going to happen". According to Shields, Facebook's relationship with the UK government was "very strong", and people who publicized their criminal activities via the service would likely be caught anyway. She refused to share views on governmental control over services used for criminal activities.

It is interesting to hear Shields' view on things, as Cameron made the below statement during the rioting which spread across England during the summer. According to Cameron at the time, the British government was “working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services”.

The Metropolitan Police's acting governor, Tim Godwin, told Parliament members that they had considered going down the route, though it was legally questionable whether they would be able to do so or not. In a separate statement, Shields also confirmed that the social network had passed eight hundred million users worldwide. Three weeks ago, Zuckerberg announced that they had passed seven hundred and fifty million users at the f8 conference.

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Paul - Your article is wrong - Blackberry was never suspended, and they were not asked to by the UK Government.

Suggest you correct your article or simply remove it.

What annoys me is how politicians ignore the fact that there are some genuine grievances that need addressing - merely shutting down avenues of communication will be like cutting the head off of a hydra. Are there rabble rousers who simply want to cause problems? sure there are but they're hardly new and have always existed but undermining such groups in the past has never required draconian clamp downs.

What's your source for the BBM shutdown over the riots? Fairly sure the calls from some MPs to have it shut down were ignored.

As they should have been too!

The UK gov were just proving their hypocrasy with that request, considering their judgemental comments when the Egyptian government cut off internet access during their riots early this year...

CDav said,
What's your source for the BBM shutdown over the riots? Fairly sure the calls from some MPs to have it shut down were ignored.

Its true that while non of the blackberry services were shut down in the UK at the time and as a result of the riots ; facebook, twitter and blackberry did say at the time they would not shut down or remove access but it was only blackberry who offered details of its customers to the police without prior evidence of any wrong doing or request from the officals in the first instance.

It might not seem like much of an offence at first, but that in itself is aganst human rights in the UK, 5.c1 "Everyone has the right for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence."

Thats what narked people at first about BBM and their so called secure and private messenging network. However, I guess its forgivable with the recent down time of the blackberry network to get confused and assume the government had it taken down at the time of riots too.

IIRC blackberry responded by saying only its corporate side of the BB services are secure and kept private.... nice to know. Personally I don't think they [RIM] should be allowed to keep marketing the BlackBerry name for both consumer and corporate while having different policys for the two different sectors.

sagum said,

Its true that while non of the blackberry services were shut down in the UK at the time and as a result of the riots ; facebook, twitter and blackberry did say at the time they would not shut down or remove access but it was only blackberry who offered details of its customers to the police without prior evidence of any wrong doing or request from the officals in the first instance.

Right, but the article says the riots "resulted in RIM's temporary suspension of the BlackBerry Messenger within the UK"

What I was asking was for the source of this because I'm pretty sure BBM was never shut down.