In the wake of the UK riots which took place across the UK in August 2011, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, has announced that his government will explore whether to “turn off” social networks such as Twitter during times of civil unrest. However, the evidence that Twitter (or Facebook) was used to organise violence is almost non-existent - in fact, in the days since the riots Twitter has been used for positive action of the kind seen in the #riotcleanup campaign.
Many MPs are active on Twitter. They use the service for communicating their thoughts and views, and for updating us on their activities. This is entirely positive for democracy. At a time when there is an understandable public outcry over the violence that took place in the riots, the Coalition government should not be engaging in a knee-jerk reaction of trying to demonise social networking and use recent shocking events to crack down on the medium in an undemocratic way.
It’s time for MPs who use Twitter to do their part and speak up in defence of social networking rather than being cowed into silence. This site has been set up to give you an easy and convenient way to contact all Twitter-using MPs using pre-prepared tweets, so that we can put some pressure on them to make our (and hopefully their) views known.