Facebook Riot Post Earns Man 3 Years in Jail

Getty Images

What you say online can have serious consequences. Especially if you incite a riot ... then one happens. Just ask Philip Scott Burgess.

The 22-year-old British man was given a three-year jail sentence after he pleaded guilty to "publishing written material to stir up racial hatred while encouraging or assisting the commission of a riot," thenextweb.com reports.

“Message to all — we need to start riot’n we need to put Manchester on the map," Burgess posted to his Facebook profile. "First lets riot king street Manchester, haha.”

Sure, people write this kind of stuff all the time. But Burgees chose to do it Aug. 9, the same day as the London riots. This brings into question whether writing the post itself would have been enough to sentence Burgess. Or, did it take the post paired with actual rioting to draw law enforcement's attention? Either way, police said they gave fair warning.

“At the time of the disorder, we made a public pledge to our communities that we would pursue not just those involved in looting, violence or arson, but those who used social networking sites to stir up trouble and encourage others to get involved," Assistant Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said.

So before your next post, think it through. The police might be able to use it against you later.

Contact Us