Raoul Moat, social media and free speech

[tweetmeme source=”barrydewar” alias=”http://ow.ly/2cknJ” only_single=false style=”compact”]The Raoul Moat story is a controversial one. He was a man who snapped and shot a bunch of people before going on the run and giving the media the gift of the sort 24 hour news blitz which they now thrive.

We’ve all got our own opinions on this but where does social media play into all this?

The controversy of late has surrounded a Facebook group which was set up which attracted a lot of friends. These people began to post and quickly a cult sprang up which painted Moat as some kind of working class hero.

Then it got interesting

David Cameron demanded that Facebook take down the group while Facebook defended their members freedom of speech. Now clearly this is a political move in light of Cameron’s courting of Mark Zuckerberg but it’s a dangerous precedent to be setting for the Prime Minister.

By demanding that content of this type be removed from a public forum while the media itself continues to demonise and celebritise Moat with no sanctions Cameron is hinting at his stance on civil liberties.

Social media is the very embodiment of free speech

It is open to all and as such, a lot of public figures have fallen foul of its public spirit. People are at liberty to express their feelings regardless of whether we agree with them or not. If you don’t like what someone says you can either talk to them about it, or simply stop following them. It is in no way detrimental to anyone’s mental wellbeing to find out that some people believe that the case of Raoul Moat was mishandled.

As I write this I see that Duncan Bannatyne has waded in to try and harness the power of his #duncansdream crew to boycott Facebook. Now, I don’t like that idea. I don’t agree with the reasons for it but the very fact that he is free to lobby people using a social network in such a way is a testament to the twisted circular beauty of the medium.

I expect this to be the first skirmish in the government’s war on digital freedom. Watch this space.

*image credit ralaenin


2 thoughts on “Raoul Moat, social media and free speech

  1. Small point but he murdered one person not a ‘bunch’ as far as I know. It sounds like a you’re sensationalising an already incredibly sad story for all.

  2. You’re aboslutely right. I’ve changed it from “killed” to “shot.”

    I’m not sensationalisting it though, trying to do quite the opposite if you read the whole post.

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