Philadelphia Police Claim 'Social Sites Led to Riots'

Philadelphia Police Claim 'Social Sites Led to Riots'

Summary: Russian Hooligans meet up to fightThe darker side of flash mobs emerged again this weekend. While most people enjoy the happy confluence of dancers and singers for surprise performances in public places, such as the T Mobile Liverpool Street Station event, the darker side is mobilizing for violence.

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Russian Hooligans meet up to fight

The darker side of flash mobs emerged again this weekend. While most people enjoy the happy confluence of dancers and singers for surprise performances in public places, such as the T Mobile Liverpool Street Station event, the darker side is mobilizing for violence.

As the NBC Philadelphia affiliate reports ('Twittering Teens Terrorize the City'):

A mob of tech-savvy teens tweeted their way into the same place in South Philly over the weekend and then went wild.

"It's kind of a new dynamic that's growing, with large groups of juveniles using the social networks to get out the word," said Philly police Lt. Frank Vanore. "We're not going to tolerate it."

Hundreds of teens who coordinated through MySpace and Twitter, hijacked a taxi at 12th and South Street, assaulted and yanked a woman and passenger out of their car and vandalized a convenience store at Broad and Catharine Streets.

Most of the teens were between the ages of 14 and 17.

Police noticed the same sort of thing happening in the past few weeks. They've been monitoring the social networking sites, but this latest gathering was bigger --  more than 100 teens -- and overwhelmed law enforcement. "With a big crowd, there's nothing you can do," Vanore said.

This Clock Work Orange like event is a variant of the widespread use of Twitter and tagging in last year's Greek riots, which I wrote about here.

Real time collaboration is immensely powerful. Since the widespread use of closed circuit television in european football (soccer) grounds, hooligans have used mobile telephones and even email scheduling to arrange where to fight, as portrayed in the film 'Football Factory'. (NSFW trailer).

The tabloid style reporting of the Philadelphia event is an alarming reminder of how effective the new communication tools can be for solving an age old problem; how to outwit the Police and run wild.

For every charity fund raising network effect on Twitter written about by Dennis Howlett today, there is the equal possibility of mobilizing a mob to go and raise a ruckus or worse, as the Russian Spartak vs. Zenit football hooligan face off video at the top of this post demonstrates.

A sobering thought...

Topics: Collaboration, Social Enterprise

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