Monday, 24 March 2008

Paramilitary Influences on BEBO

I first heard of BEBO at the time of the tragic killing of Michael 'Mickybo' McIlveen in Ballymena in May, 2006. It's a social networking website that's popular with young people, some of them my relations and acquaintances.

Later on in the year I became aware of the large number of paramilitary related marching bands that were to be found in the bands section. Bebo draws attention to some of the risks faced by its members but I could find no warning about paramilitaries and their malign influences.

I emailed Sarah Gavin(youtube), Bebo's Communications Director, and I also spoke to her twice by telephone. She removed some of the sites I drew attention to but when I requested that Bebo deal with all of these sites her landline telephone number disappeared from the Bebo website. I also emailed Rachel O'Connell, Bebo's Chief Safety Officer, but received no reply.

Later on I noticed SDLP Youth's concern about Bebo so I asked Mark Durkan's office to approach NICCY, the commissioner for children and young people. The commissioner's reply doesn't fill me with confidence that action is likely to follow anytime soon.

If you'd like to check out some of these websites google with 'bebo bands' plus a selection from 'loyalist republican rfb uda uvf ira paramilitary'.