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Facebook invites you… to riot

March 10, 2009

news_page

Headline: Organised battle in old Tours.

Came across this in France during my recent holiday, taken from the front page of local newspaper La Nouvelle Republique, on Monday.

It shows police trying to calm groups of teenagers rioting in Place Plumereau, a picturesque square in the centre of Tours, on a Saturday night.

So why is this making the front page of my blog today?

It’s another example of how social media is dominating the news – but this time it’s not good news.

Using a group on Facebook, locals somehow managed to incite a gathering in the heart of a popular tourist destination. There was no purpose for it: nothing political, no looting, just “come along and set fire to things and shout abuse at the police”.

police

Now I doubt this would make the news in the UK, but if it did it would slightly damage the reputation of Tours. Nothing like this has happened before in Tours, and it is thought it was just a one-off.

But in the office, we’ve been talking a lot about online communities, and how their purpose is to encourage “real life” meetings/events etc.

But this Facebook call to riot just goes to show there can be a negative side to social media, and that as Facebook begins to make a major comeback , we’re reminded just how powerful an effect it can have on motivating or influencing people.

Maybe every tourism department, no matter how big, should be on Facebook as well, to give their side of the story?

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