Social Media Takes on Vancouver Rioters

Vancouver Riots 2011 - Photo Credit Elspeth Grafton

The post Stanley Cup riot in Vancouver will arguably go down in Canadian history as the most covered via social media. The tens of thousands of people in the downtown core, during the game and in the midst of the mayhem, covered the events with mobile devices – taking high resolution photos and video.

In the wake, numerous Facebook and Tumblr pages have been set up where users can post pictures with a goal of identifying perpetrators – including people tipping cars, setting storefronts on fire and attacking police. On Youtube, hundreds of videos have been uploaded – one of which has received over 100 000 views.

The wealth of information will be useful to the police, but it raises an interesting question. While publicly operated CCTV and private security cameras are less obvious, those who instigated the riots, started fires and attacked others, must have been aware of the hundreds of people filming in the immediate area. Yet the threat of exposure did not act as a deterrent.

The Riots – Twitter Stream


Discussion2 Comments

  • Cheryl Jun 16, 2011 

    I was thinking that the sea of cameras had the opposite effect — rather than a deterrent, people were performing for the audience they knew would be on the other end of the camera. I was reminded of the Simpsons episode where the advertising mascots come to life — the only way to get them to stop was to not pay attention to them.

    • Mat Wright Jun 16, 2011 

      You might be correct – crowds do tend to ham it up in front of live TV cameras, as noted when CBC was broadcasting in the plaza before the Canucks home games. The difference here are the criminal acts. I find it amazing that anyone would light a car on fire, loot a store or assault someone knowing they were being filmed. There must be some sociological research into this.

      Thanks for the comment – Mat


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