Two City Council members want to sue Twitter, Facebook over flash mob - Technical.ly Philly

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Two City Council members want to sue Twitter, Facebook over flash mob

On Tuesday, roughly 150 teens may have used text messaging and social media sites to coordinate a chaotic rampage from the Gallery mall throughout Market Street, pushing, kicking and vandalizing their way toward the Macy's near City Hall and an inevitable snowball fight.

Councilman Frank DiCicco

Undated photo of Philadelphia City Councilman Frank DiCicco.

Councilman Frank DiCicco

Councilmembers Frank DiCicco and James F. Kenney are seeking the possibility of suing social media sites like Twitter or Facebook if they indeed played a role in Tuesday’s Market East flash mob, as CNET reported this week.

The councilmen requested permission from Mayor Michael Nutter to take legal action to force a mechanism to stop events like the flash mob of this week.

On Tuesday, roughly 150 teens may have used text messaging and social media sites to coordinate a chaotic rampage from the Gallery mall throughout Market Street, pushing, kicking and vandalizing their way toward the Macy’s near City Hall and an inevitable snowball fight.

No serious injuries were reported, though 16 arrests were made, according to the Inquirer.

“It is disheartening; to say the least, that these youth so casually disrespected our residents, businesses, customers, visitors, and our police department,” the letter said. “While they certainly owe this city an apology and deserve to be punished under the fullest extent of the law, we believe that social media outlets should also bear some of the blame.”

This issue has happened in Philadelphia before, including a ruckus on South Broad Street in June.

CNET makes the point: “On one hand, suing Facebook in this case is like suing the phone company if telephone calls were used to plot a bank robbery. It’s not the responsibility of a social network with 400 million members around the world to monitor conversations between mischievous high schoolers…”

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But it’s happened before, and authorities haven’t found the tools to combat them. Maybe they should partner with a certain Camden startup Drakontas.

No word yet from the Nutter administration or if the councilmen will otherwise move froward with the legislation.

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