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Man arrested over BlackBerry messages planning... a water fight

Social networks are under scrutiny from UK police after they were used to organise looting in last week’s riots.

Image: Murky1 via Flickr

A MAN HAS been charged by UK police for allegedly trying to organise a water fight using the BlackBerry Messenger social network.

The 20-year-old from, Colchester in Essex, will appear before magistrates next month after being charged with “encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence”, the Guardian reports. Police said they discovered the alleged plans being circulated on BlackBerry Messenger and Facebook.

BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM, was in the spotlight last week after the private network was used to orchestrate looting and violence during riots across England. A spokesman for Essex police told the Daily Telegraph they feared the water fight could have been a cover for more rioting, saying: “In the light of recent events, we would have to be careful that [the event] is not all that it seems.”

Responding to the riots last week, UK prime minister David Cameron signalled his government would be increasing scrutiny on social networks. He said the “free flow of information can be used for good, but it can also be used for ill”, and said his officials would check whether it would be “right” to block services suspected of being used for criminality.

Read more: Cameron: “The fightback has well and truly begun” >

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Michael Freeman

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