Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Anti-Social Media

Social media is a very powerful tool. Much more powerful, sadly, than the brains of many of its users.

Last night, Facebook and Twitter became perfect vehicles for disseminating misinformation, malicious and misguided rumours. For all the valid information that was shared, equally as much fear seemed to have been spread.

There was, as I posted last night, no truth to rumours of riots in Worcester Park, but that didn't stop the panic and concern spreading and the misinformation continuing. Funny, no doubt, for those spreading it but less amusing for those with friends, family or businesses in Worcester Park who were left fearing the worst.

In Sutton, contrary to the flurry of social media reports, there were no fires and no police officers injured . There was minor damage to a handful of retailers in the town centre and thefts from two shops – one in central Sutton and one in the Rosehill area. Three people have been arrested in connection with the central Sutton theft.

In Sutton there was a large police presence to manage a group of youths aged mostly between 13 and 19 – many of whom were spectators. Reports of an increase in residential burglaries were also unfounded.

Sutton's Town Centre Partnership took the step of advising pubs and clubs to close early last night and Sutton's town centre manager was on the scene to provide advice to traders and local people.

Sutton Council's Street Scene teams were in the town centre from first thing this morning to clear up a small amount of debris so that shops could open on time this morning.

All of Sutton's police officers are now on 12 hour shifts, with rest days cancelled. Tonight the police will again provide a large and highly mobile visible presence to protect local people and businesses.

The council's Twitter feed and website will be regularly updated with accurate information following a number of false reports last night about events in Sutton on social networking sites.

5 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Mark said...

Could you provide the link for Suttons Twitter feed please?

Anne said...

For Mark: http://twitter.com/#!/lbsuttonnews

Nikko said...

I left Sutton cinema at about 2.15 this afternoon, and they were closing on the advice of the police. It looked as though Sutton was being evacuated; traffic in, and joining, St Nicholas Way was a nightmare, and a lot of people - shoppers, not rioters - were milling round in the High Street, looking rather lost. The traffic back to WP wasn't too bad though :-)

PS I didn't walk to the bottom of the High St, but the only sign of damage I saw before going to the cinema was a broken window at HMV, though I don't know if that happened last night.

Sarah M said...

Got home early from work up town, glad to see police presence in Central Road, seem to be advising people to go home early and stay in.

Nichu said...

On my way home, the only smell of smoke in WP was that of barbecues, and the only sound of youth was that of young children playing. Worcester Park is not a bad place, let's hope it stays that way. I won't complain about traffic or charity shops on Central Road again!

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