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Congress

Facebook Removed Threats From Site During Riots

August 12, 2011

Facebook worked to scrub its site of dangerous communications this week as fears arose that online social networks helped spread riots in Britain and as authorities appeared poised to crack down on social media to curb the the violence.

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said the company has taken steps in recent days to ensure that "any credible threats of violence are removed from Facebook." The effort follows Prime Minister David Cameron's remarks to Parliament hinting at a need to crack down on Twitter and Facebook to combat the violence .

Noyes argued that Facebook has been beneficial during the riots.

"We have been pleased to see the very positive uses millions of people have been making of our service to let friends and family know they are safe and to strengthen their communities," he said in a statement.

Facebook, Twitter, and Research In Motion, the BlackBerry maker, are expected to meet with British officials to discuss how they should respond in times of emergency after Cameron remarked on how tech companies may contribute to the violence.

A Twitter spokeswoman said of the talks,"We'd be happy to listen."

Cameron's remarks caused an outcry because many observers interpreted them as a threat to shut down Facebook and Twitter.

"Everyone watching these horrific actions will be stuck by how they were organized via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. And when people are using social media for violence we need to stop them," he said, according to reports.

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