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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