Black youths have been primary participants in many 'flash robs' – thefts organized on Twitter and Facebook. Some bloggers see a racial element, but many experts disagree.
Angry and out of work, some black American youth are finding a new outlet for their frustration: “flash robs.”
Flash robs are a criminal twist on “flash mobs” – the spontaneous gatherings that use messages on Twitter and Facebook to organize. Instead of congregating to sing Christmas carols or hold political protests, however, flash robs are organized to rob a store in a quick and sometimes large lightning raid.
In some conservative circles of the blogosphere, flash robs have become a symbol of a nascent race war in America – Internet-era replays of the race riots of the 1960s and ‘70s. In one case, a flash rob participant reportedly yelled: "We need to kill all the white people around here!"
But experts suggest African-American participation in flash robs is merely the latest manifestation of decades-old discontent within the community, brought to a boil by the current economy.