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No shut down

The Home Secretary Theresa May has told social networks that the government has no intention of 'restricting internet services' during times of civil unrest.

It had previously made proposals to ban suspected rioters from using Facebook and Twitter altogether following their prominent mobilisation role during the recent riots.

Social Networks were not surprisingly opposed to the plans, which they said amounted to a new form of online censorship. But government ministers have instead chosen to focus on how the police authorities can better use Facebook and Twitter during civil emergencies.

In a statement the home office said: 'The discussions looked at how law enforcement and the networks can build on the existing relationships and co-operation to prevent the networks being used for criminal behaviour. The government did not seek any additional powers to close down social media networks.'

A spokesperson from Twitter argued: 'Governments and law enforcement agencies around the world use Twitter to engage in open, public, communications … we've heard from many that Twitter is an effective way to distribute updates and dispel rumours in times of crisis or emergency.'

The possibility of limiting the use of social networks was first raised by David Cameron a fortnight ago, when he pledged to do anything to prevent a repeat of the riots.

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