The recent student demonstrations have shown how social media has changed the way in which protests are conducted. Social media networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, provide platforms for people who have no connection to each other to discuss certain issues. This can fuel anger and create mass demonstrations without authorities being able to identify ringleaders.
There is also a lack of planning when protests in this way and police were unprepared for the level of response for the initial demonstration in Central London. 225 police officers ended up being faced with tens of thousands of protesters. Scotland Yard has appealed for demonstrators to provide them with information on plans since that episode but have been met with no feedback.
When journalists did try and identify leaders who had used blogs and social media sites to comment on the tuition fee situation, the people they targeted were not advocating violence. The result has been very angry young people with no direction, just causing chaos and violence.