Teenagers in the city of Philadelphia have orchestrated “flash mobs”, a massive gathering of individuals at a common place, usually to conduct some sort of destructive behavior. How do the masses orchestrate the crowd? Through the use of social media platforms Facebook and Twitter. This is clearly an outright abuse of the fundamentals behind social media, as it is being misused to create teenage violence.
“This is not what social media was designed to accomplish”, states Ken Wisnefski, who was recently interviewed on FOX News discussing cyber security. “At WebiMax, we build social media campaigns for our clients to increase their brand awareness and develop additional revenue streams. The organizing of ‘flash mobs’ in Philadelphia demonstrates the capabilities of the misuse of one of the most powerful mass-communications tools in the 21st century”.
The flash mobs have caused Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter (D) to institute a curfew for the city’s citizens under the age of 18. The curfew has had mixed reviews, with the Mayor responding “there is no excuse for young people being out so late at night, making bad decisions, and literally assaulting other citizens”.
“There is no regulation on social media, thus it is impossible to monitor all that is said (and organized) online”, states Wisnefski. “Social media plays an integral role in our lives and
continues to demonstrate its capabilities on national scales. The United Kingdom has also experienced organized flash mobs in London, with organized crowds rioting and looting in the city”.
A possible solution for anti-flash mob violence is constructing a monitoring team that closely watches social media, looking for these events, and preventing them before they occur.
“We’re not likely to have an organizer send a mass-text message or phone calls to their network of 500+ individuals, therefore closely monitoring social media sites and looking for key indicators for an organized flash-mob may be an effective solution. This is another example of the power of social media, just in a negative connotation”, concludes Wisnefski.