The home secretary has confirmed that the government has no intention of banning access to social media during periods of civil disorder, despite previous statements hinting that it may do so after the riots that swept across the UK in August.
Theresa May told a home affairs select committee on Thursday that the government will not look for additional powers to shut down sites like Facebook and Twitter, or services such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM).
"The government was at no stage talking about closing down these social media networks," she said.
"[We had] very constructive meetings with the companies, and we discussed better ways in which these media can be made use of by the police, and to ensure these networks are not being used to incite criminality."
May added that the sentences handed down to those who had incited criminal behaviour on social media sites were appropriate.
"I think it's certainly right, and is instructive, for those who have thought of using social media in this way to see the sentences that were passed on those inciting rioting and disorder," she said.
Prime minister David Cameron had hinted in the immediate aftermath of the riots that the government could look to switch off services such as BBM and Twitter to stop rioters inciting others to commit crimes.
"Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organised via social media. Free flow of information can be used for good, but it can be used for ill. When people are using social media for violence we need to stop them," he said at the time.
"So we are working with the police, the intelligence services and industry to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these web sites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality."
RIM's BBM service was widely blamed for helping criminals to organise rioting and looting, and MP David Lammy called for the service to be banned.
However, social media was also used for good during the riots, as citizens used the sites to spread information on areas to avoid and organise clean-up operations.
New light-guiding nanoscale device can control and monitor a nanoparticle trapped in a laser beam with high sensitivity
Optical traps are scientific instruments in which a focused laser beam is used to exert an attractive or repulsive force on a microscopic object to hold it in place
Scientists estimate that the exoplanet has already lost up to 35 per cent of its mass over its lifetime
The observations were made using the Atacama Array in the Chilean desert
J1043+2408 was observed for more than 10 years, and its radio light curve exhibited a periodic signal repeating in about 563 days