Twitter and Blackberry mobile phone technology was instrumental in orchestrating the astonishing riots in Tottenham, London.
Teenage gang members used the social networking site, Twitter to capture themselves and other rioters looting and fighting.
They were so caught up in the frenzy of destruction in Tottenham they thought nothing of posting incriminating pictures of themselves on Twitter stealing from ransacked shops, documenting the disorder second by second.
Looters were pictured clutching what they had managed to steal. One showed three people outside a shuttered shop, two clutching H & M bags.
Another showed a man wheeling a shopping trolley packed with alcohol, while a third showed the proud owner of a new television and two boxes of electrical goods.
The rioters organised the violence using the Blackberry Messenger service available on Blackberry smart-phones. Known as BBM, the messaging service allows the phone-owners to communicate with each other for free and almost instantaneously.
Crucially, in order to communicate users have to exchange their phones’ PINs, meaning their messages are private – unlike Twitter or Facebook. Conversations can be held between multiple people simultaneously in ‘group chat’ sessions.
Mark Duggan, whose fatal shooting by police sparked the disturbances, used Blackberry Messenger to send his last message to his girlfriend, Semone Wilson, 29, writing: “The Feds are following me."
Rumours about Duggan’s shooting and whether he fired on police first, were spread by Blackberry.
But, as the violence erupted after what initially seemed like a peaceful protest, Twitter was used to spread news of the disorder. Photos of burning police cars circulated on the site even before the BBC news channel began its coverage.
Jacob Bard-Rosenberg, a self-styled Marxist and blogger, wrote on Twitter: “I'm looking for someone to buddy up as a legal observer and head down to #Tottenham now.”
Three hours later, he wrote: “Standing here amongst burning barricades. Beautiful.”
Bwoywonder wrote: "Tottenham yutes on roofs of towerblocks dashing stones trying to bring down a police copter. Determination."
On Saturday night, rioters and spectators filmed the mayhem using mobile phones and camcorders and quickly posted the footage on Youtube.
Some looters photographed each other in front of wrecked and burning shops as “trophy” snaps.
A terrified woman who had become trapped in a shop on Tottenham High Road posted footage of dozens of riot officers charging from their line of vans towards flaming barricades.
Another grainy film shows hooded youths watch the Tottenham branch of Carpetright go up in flames, while a third shows a jewellery shop being torched.
Throughout the night, Twitter was flooded with accounts of the riot using street slang.
As the orgy of violence reached a crescendo, a BBC crew were attacked while delivering a live broadcast, forcing the channel and Sky News to withdraw their satellite trucks. In their absence, many turned to Twitter for a stream of eyewitness reports and photographs posted by local residents.
A passing motorist early on Sunday morning filmed hooded men fleeing branches of H & M and JD Sport in Wood Green carrying items they had looted while the shops’ alarms sounded.