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Reading The Riots on Twitter at LIFT12

This presentation looks at the ways in which the riots were discussed on Twitter, during the four days of rioting in the UK during the summer of 2011. The 'Reading the Riots on Twitter' project examined 2.6 million riot tweets, focusing specifically on the role of rumours, whether incitement was organised on Twitter as well as who the key users were that tweeted the riots. Finally, it looks at how emergency services in particular can improve their social media strategies in the future.

1 of 57
READING
THE RIOTS
ON TWITTER
 Rob Procter (University of Manchester)
    Farida Vis (University of Leicester)
Alexander Voss (University of St Andrews)
             [Funded by JISC]


                                            #readingtheriots
READING
THE RIOTS
ON TWITTER     UK riots (6-9 August 2011)



 Police shoot and kill Mark Duggan on 4 August.

 [Day 1 Tottenham – 6 August]

 People gather outside the police station in Tottenham
 to speak to a senior officer. No one speaks to them.
 9pm family leaves, tensions grow. Police cars set on
 fire. Intense looting, further fires and running battles
 with the police ensue.
READING
THE RIOTS
ON TWITTER




             [day 2]
READING
THE RIOTS    [Day 2: rest of London]
ON TWITTER




 Riots spread to Enfield, 6 miles
 north of Tottenham.
 Fewer clashes with the police,
 more focused on looting shops.
 Similar disturbances in the south, in Brixton.
 Further minor outbreaks elsewhere in London,
 including in Oxford Circus, Hackney and Waltham
 Forrest.
READING
THE RIOTS    [Day 3: The disorder spreads]
ON TWITTER




   Monday saw the most intense 24 hours of civil
   unrest in recent history. 22 out of London‟s 32
   boroughs were affected.

   Two people dead. Rioting spreads to the
   Midlands, Birmingham, West Bromwich,
   Nottingham, Leicester, Liverpool and elsewhere.
READING
THE RIOTS    [Day 4: Extra policing]
ON TWITTER




   Unprecedented numbers of police in London.
   Only minor incidents in the capital. Rioting
   continues in the rest of the UK, including in
   Birmingham where 3 young men were killed while
   protecting shops.

   Disturbances in Manchester and Salford – intense
   looting of the city centre.

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Reading The Riots on Twitter at LIFT12

  • 1. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER Rob Procter (University of Manchester) Farida Vis (University of Leicester) Alexander Voss (University of St Andrews) [Funded by JISC] #readingtheriots
  • 2. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER UK riots (6-9 August 2011) Police shoot and kill Mark Duggan on 4 August. [Day 1 Tottenham – 6 August] People gather outside the police station in Tottenham to speak to a senior officer. No one speaks to them. 9pm family leaves, tensions grow. Police cars set on fire. Intense looting, further fires and running battles with the police ensue.
  • 4. READING THE RIOTS [Day 2: rest of London] ON TWITTER Riots spread to Enfield, 6 miles north of Tottenham. Fewer clashes with the police, more focused on looting shops. Similar disturbances in the south, in Brixton. Further minor outbreaks elsewhere in London, including in Oxford Circus, Hackney and Waltham Forrest.
  • 5. READING THE RIOTS [Day 3: The disorder spreads] ON TWITTER Monday saw the most intense 24 hours of civil unrest in recent history. 22 out of London‟s 32 boroughs were affected. Two people dead. Rioting spreads to the Midlands, Birmingham, West Bromwich, Nottingham, Leicester, Liverpool and elsewhere.
  • 6. READING THE RIOTS [Day 4: Extra policing] ON TWITTER Unprecedented numbers of police in London. Only minor incidents in the capital. Rioting continues in the rest of the UK, including in Birmingham where 3 young men were killed while protecting shops. Disturbances in Manchester and Salford – intense looting of the city centre.
  • 7. READING What was going on? THE RIOTS ON TWITTER “Criminality pure and simple” [Government repeatedly claimed] NO links to poverty, lack of education, opportunity, economic situation NO NEED FOR AN INQUIRY (nothing to see here, move along)
  • 8. READING The accusation THE RIOTS ON TWITTER SOCIAL MEDIA = TO BLAME FOR THE RIOTS BBM = Facebook = Twitter Blackberry messenger closed network
  • 9. READING The accusers THE RIOTS ON TWITTER David Cameron, Prime Minister …“whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality”. On the riots: “struck by how they were organised via social media”. Louise Mensch, Conservative MP Proposed temporary shutdown of Facebook and Twitter. “Common sense. If riot info and fear is spreading by Facebook& Twitter, shut them off for an hour or two, then restore. World won't implode”.
  • 12. READING The defenders THE RIOTS ON TWITTER THE POLICE (among many others) Vital channel of communication Kevin Hoy, web manager Greater Manchester police Twitter allows for “direct reassurance” and “dispel rumours … in a way that we could never have achieved previously” On Use of Twitter: “overwhelmingly positive”
  • 13. READING The general public THE RIOTS ON TWITTER Two-thirds support social networking blackout in future riots “A poll of 973 adults carried out for the online security firm Unisys found 70% of adults supported the shutdown of Twitter, Facebook and Blackberry Messenger (BBM), while only 27% disagreed.” Support strongest among 65+, weakest among 18-24 year olds.
  • 14. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER Groundbreaking study + conference
  • 15. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER What role did social media play? 2.6 million riot tweets (donated by Twitter) 700,000 individual accounts Initially: o Role of Rumours o Did incitement take place? [no – #riotcleanup] o What is the role of different actors on Twitter?
  • 16. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER Early Twitter hashtag visualisation
  • 18. READING THE RIOTS #riotcleanup – seen potentially by 7 ON TWITTER million users
  • 21. READING Role of Rumours THE RIOTS ON TWITTER
  • 48. READING No evidence of incitement THE RIOTS ON TWITTER BUT… Celebrating having started rumours (on the #readingtheriotshashtag) Compete to get the best rumour adopted? Vitriol against looters
  • 49. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER Who tweeted the riots? - individuals 1. riotcleanup 40960 mentions 2. paullewis 30031 mentions 3. piersmorgan 20412 mentions 4. bbcnews 18836 mentions 5. itv_news 15177 mentions 6. bbcbreaking 13476 mentions 7. guardian 11513 mentions 8. lawcol888 9290 mentions 9. simonpegg 9240 mentions 10. gmpolice 8904 mentions
  • 50. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER Who tweeted the riots? - categories Top 200 Twitter accounts by actor type 140000 125768 120000 < mainstream media 100000 79043 80000 < journalists 59193 < riot accounts 60000 51534 45869 40000 30839 32308 25464 22896 16136 18163 20000 13303 14065 < 8285 4607 5757 5962 3196 spoof 4011 1031 0
  • 51. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER Who tweeted the riots? Lots of different kinds of users o Mainstream media + individual journalists mentioned most. o Riotcleanup most mentioned individual account. o Greater Manchester Police in the top 10 individual accounts. Emergency services low overall. Organise – broadcast – find information – voice opinions – satire the riots, rioters and commentators
  • 52. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER lawcol888‟s broom army picture
  • 53. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER Who tweeted the riots? Lots of different kinds of users o Mainstream media + individual journalists mentioned most. o Riotcleanup most mentioned individual account. o Greater Manchester Police in the top 10 individual accounts. Emergency services low overall. Organise – broadcast – find information – voice opinions – satire the riots, rioters and commentators
  • 54. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER 3 spoof accounts in top 200 Number 13, 6697 mentions Number 20, 5939 mentions Number 23, 5527 mentions
  • 55. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER Satirical comments and images Fake PR for Rupert Murdoch:„SkyNews is right. #LondonRiots all Twitter‟s fault. Give Twitter to me, we‟ll strip it of importance and relevancy like we did to MySpace.‟ Can‟t get into BBM? „just ask News International‟ Images of people planking during the riots
  • 56. READING THE RIOTS ON TWITTER Conclusions Predictions o Understand context o Listening platform (40%) o Local context important o Improve role of police o The rise of individuals o Downside of police on Twitter? o Better contain rumours o Build on teams that can o Better distribute handle and rapidly information analyse big data o Role of the emergency o Where will crisis services - Everyday communication move? Platforms? Streaming?
  • 57. READING THE RIOTS Jonathan Richards Alastair Dant ON TWITTER Katie Loweth Marta Cantijoch Yana Manyukhina Rob Procter (University of Manchester) Mike Thelwall Farida Vis (University of Leicester) Steven Gray Alexander Voss (University of St Andrews) Rachel Gibson [Funded by JISC] Andy Hudson Smith http://www.analysingsocialmedia.org /