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Social Media Turns Evil, Misuse Leads to Increased Risk of 'Flash Mobs' in Philly

By Deepika Mala, TMCnet Contributor
August 19, 2011

Social media plays an integral role in our lives and benefits us in many ways, every single day. However, in recent times, its misuse has led to an increased risk of "flash mobs" in and throughout Philadelphia.

Kenneth C. Wisnefski, Internet-security expert and founder and CEO of WebiMax, a search engine optimization firm, has highlighted how this misuse of social media platforms can have dangerous effects.

To conduct some sort of destructive behavior, teenagers in the city of Philadelphia have orchestrated "flash mobs," massive gatherings of individuals at a common place. They make this gathering possible, by using social media platforms like Facebook (News - Alert) and Twitter.

The organizing of “flash mobs” in Philadelphia demonstrates the capabilities of the misuse of one of the most powerful mass-communications tools in the 21st century.

"This is not what social media was designed to accomplish", said Wisnefski, who was recently interviewed on FOX News discussing cyber security, in a press release. "At WebiMax, we build social media campaigns for our clients to increase their brand awareness and develop additional revenue streams."

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, in an attempt to combat the flash mobs, instituted a curfew for anyone under the age of 18. The curfew has had mixed reviews, with the Mayor responding "there is no excuse for young people being out so late at night, making bad decisions and literally assaulting other citizens."

The United Kingdom has also experienced organized flash mobs in London, with organized crowds rioting and looting in the city.

Constructing a monitoring team that closely watches social media, looks for these events, and prevents them before they occur has emerged as a possible solution for anti-flash mob violence.

In related news, Actiance VP will be discussing Social Media developments at ITEXPO (News - Alert) West 2011.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Deepika Mala is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by John Lahtinen