Within 10 days of the riots in the UK a judge sentenced two young men, 20 and 22, to 4 years in jail for using Facebook. Without question Social Media has transformed communications and impacted the UK riots, but one might wonder if the courts may have acted too swiftly. Here’s what the Guardian reported:
Jordan Blackshaw, 20, set up an "event" called Smash Down in Northwich Town for the night of 8 August on the social networking site but no one apart from the police, who were monitoring the page, turned up at the pre-arranged meeting point outside a McDonalds restaurant. Blackshaw was promptly arrested.
Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, of Latchford, Warrington, used his Facebook account in the early hours of 9 August to design a web page entitled The Warrington Riots. The court was told it caused a wave of panic in the town. When he woke up the following morning with a hangover, he removed the page and apologised, saying it had been a joke. His message was distributed to 400 Facebook contacts, but no rioting broke out as a result.
The Judge told the two at sentencing that their use of Facebook were “evil acts,” but many are questioning how disproportionate these sentences seem to be given all the bad players in the UK riots..