Northern Ireland news

SDLP raise concerns about use of social media to organise recent violence

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood
Connla Young

The SDLP has raised concerns with the PSNI about the use of social media to organise recent street violence.

The move comes after young people were urged onto the streets through posts placed on social media accounts in recent days.

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood said the issue was raised with the PSNI this week.

“The use of social media platforms to orchestrate and plan aspects of this week's violence seen across the north is deeply concerning and the SDLP have raised this with the PSNI," he said.

"Social media presents great opportunities to bring communities together online, particularly during the pandemic.

"It should be used to bring us together not entrench the divisions and bigotry of the past."

Mr Eastwood said negative online influences must be tackled.

"More must be done to stop the sinister influence of the faceless men and women of violence from spreading their poisonous narrative online," he said.

"Tougher social media regulation is needed.

"Countless fake profiles spreading misinformation, anonymity as a shield against prosecution and the exploitation of young people cannot be allowed to continue."

The SDLP leader said the "British Government should make this a priority and work with partners internationally to achieve global change and the PSNI should use all powers currently available to bring those involved to justice".

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