Censor social media to suppress crime mobs?

U.S. lawmakers want to prevent teens from using social media to organize crime and violence. / File photo

Do we have the right to privacy within social media? How "private" are the privacy settings within sites like Facebook?

These are questions catching fire as city councils across the nation--and more recently, the UK--try to figure out how to deal with "crime mobs," groups organized through social media for the purpose of committing a crime.

In the aftermath of the London riots, British officials and representatives from various companies like Facebook and Twitter met to discuss restricting the use of social meda to combat crime. The move has drawn criticism of Prime Minister David Cameron worldwide, who many believe is trying to enact censorship to avoid protests of his policies.

Earlier this month, Cleveland dealt with a similar issue when mayor Frank Jackson vetoed the city council's ordiance to criminalize the use of social media for organizing a crime, dubbed the "flash mob" law.

"[L]ike any criminal prohibition, the law needs to be narrowly tailored to combat the illegal activity, be an effective deterrent to wrongdoers, and not unduly interfere with the rights of law-abiding citizens," Jackson wrote in a letter to the council after his decision.

In light of the violence in London and even our own backyard when rapper Machine Gun Kelly organized a mall riot last week, should social media be censored to combat violence, or is it unconstitutional, no matter the reason?

Read more: The New York Times