Social media is being blamed for causing the riots in the UK, and other "flash mobs" in other parts of the world, including the US.
Because protestors use Facebook and Twitter and texting to gather people quickly in one place, some people are actually calling for bans on social networking, according to this report from CBS Evening News.
The same fears were raised about the printing press and easy access to books, the telephone, television, radio, and every other innovation that allowed rapid communication and sharing of information.
When social media helped people come together to overthrow a tyrant in Cairo, it was praised. Now, it is being blamed.
There have always been mobs and riots. The UK had massive riots in the 1800's and in the 1970's without any form of social media such as Facebook or Twitter or texting. There was no Facebook or Twitter during the American Revolution or the French Revolution. It is dangerous to start considering censorship and attempting to control communication. People criticized China and Middle Eastern countries for banning social media. If the United States and the UK start doing it then what will be the next step? Ban books, libraries, cellphones, public gatherings? Where might it end?
"The only thing we have to fear," Franklin Roosevelt said, "is fear itself." If we react to every situation with tighter controls due to fear, we end up giving up precious freedoms, and losing far more than we gain. And there will still be riots, and protests, both peaceful and violent, with or without social media.