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London Looters

August 9, 2011

There’s a lot going on in London right now, and a lot of people rightly want to try and identify those who are looting, lighting fires, vandalising things and essentially terrorising people on the streets.

I agree, I would like to identify them also and hope that once all of this has died down and come under control – which it will – then they will be held accountable. I know not all of them will be, and there are idiot looters sitting at home with shiny new toys which the majority of people have accepted we need to work hard to purchase – hopefully karma will see them off.

I must make a plea, however, that not everything you see on social media sites is as it appears to be on the face of it. Sure, people are using Twitter and Facebook to co-ordinate things and plan attacks, and hopefully the tracing of these now and further down the line will bring the individuals to justice; but trying to identify those in the images may not always be a correct thing to do and could cause a lynch mob to turn up at the wrong door.

For my avatars on websites and on the social network sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Google+ I use an image of a lion. Please be assured that I’m not a lion…and certainly not a cartoon one at that.

The example I will use is the case of Twitter user @itsBARBZbabes who tweeted that they had spoils from looting and exploded on the Twittersphere with people feeling this person should be held accountable (their Twitter page is now gone). I agree that the person should be held accountable if indeed they have done wrong and aren’t just a muppet who thinks it will be funny to write such stuff.

The avatar for this person, and therefore the ‘can you identify who this looter is?’ plea that is out there, is this:

The question I ask is, would finding the person in this image really tell you who the Tweeter was? There is no way to know if the person in this image is the one who is sitting at the PC posting under this account, I could easily have the same image as my avatar.

A quick search on the internet results in this photo being found:

Oh good – it’s this person with their boyfriend/brother (possibly both) in it – that would surely mean we’re twice as likely to find out who this criminal is now, as we can also just identify him!

Not the case.

The urban dictionary has an entry on Chavs and image 20 in the slideshow is this same image.

The World Hates Chavs has an article featuring the same image.

The Chav-English Translation Dictionary facebook page also features the same image.

TheRegister ran the image back in 2004.

There are 9 pages of Google image results that show this image in use.

So, what are the chances of this random Twitter user being that very girl who is in the image which is so closely related to chavs? It’s more likely that the person behind that account simply wanted to find an appropriate image to use for their Twitter, Googled for ‘chav’ and found that image to use.

Identifying the person behind this image and lynching them may take one chav off our streets, but it’s not going to help us in finding out who the looter is.

Your time and energy is better spent looking through the sites that are posting images of criminals who are out on the street trashing places, setting fire to everything and stealing things under ccTV and the media spotlights. Check out these sites to see if you can help:

http://www.londonrioters.co.uk/
http://catchalooter.tumblr.com/

Stay safe all!

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