Just as quickly as it was blamed for fuelling the London riots, social media and other technologies are being harnessed to rally people for the clean-up effort and to identify looters.
Despite police advice to remain in their homes, London residents began sweeping the city even as rioters continued to burn down buildings and loot shops.
GALLERY: UK Police release photos of suspected looters
An @Riotcleanup Twitter page created by musician Sam Duckworth has more than 85,000 followers, and broadcasts clean-up locations, times and other information. Many are using the #riotcleanup hashtag, which was devised by artist and activist Dan Thompson, and the #broomsquad hashtag.
A similar Facebook page - "Post riot clean-up: let's help London" - has more than 17,000 likes and there is also a dedicated website, riotcleanup.co.uk, and a Wiki page.
The Metropolitan Police of London has published a set of photos on Flickr showing people police believe to be riot participants. The police are asking the public to identify anyone they recognise in the pictures, which were captured by some of London's 1.5 million CCTV cameras.
"Operation Withern's priority is to bring to justice those who have committed violent and criminal acts," police said on the Flickr page.
"As the detailed and thorough investigation progresses we will be issuing photographs of suspects, like those of alleged looters we are releasing today."
An unofficial effort using Tumblr, Catch A Looter, is also publishing images of looters carrying handfuls of stolen goods. Another Tumblr blog, Photoshoplooter, seeks to add humour to what is a very grim situation with a series of doctored images.
A Facebook group dubbed "Lets catch the London 2011 rioters and looters" is also growing rapidly, while another, "Supporting the Met Police against the London rioters", has more than 850,000 likes.
A Google Group - London Riots Facial Recognition - is taking things a step further by using facial recognition technologies to identify looters automatically depicted in photographs. One of the tools it says it will use is the Face API from Facebook that helps identify people in uploaded photos.
"Whilst those intimately involved in the riots may be thankful for the way in which social media has allowed them to avoid immediate detection by authorities, in the long term social media will only make it easier for the police to isolate and identity those involved," said James Griffin, partner with the social media monitoring firm SR7.
"What one does on the internet, and especially social media, leaves an indelible mark that is almost impossible to remove."
Commentators say the initiatives help Londoners confront the powerlessness they feel about quelling the riots.
"I haven't left the laptop for more than a few minutes, and the phone has been ringing without a break. I've been up most of the night, surfing a wave of London pride and helping people team up, find the resources and get on to the streets," Thompson, who began the #riotcleanup hashtag on Twitter, wrote in The Guardian.
"Kate Nash and the Kaiser Chiefs' lead singer, Ricky Wilson, have been on the streets of Clapham. Out there, right now, hundreds of people are waving brooms in the air. Boris Johnson has visited. Government ministers have phoned me to see how they can help."
Following revelations that the encrypted BlackBerry Messenger service was one of the key tools used to spread the word about riot locations, BlackBerry-maker RIM has agreed to co-operate with police in tracing the key rioters.
Police do not need a warrant to request people's names, locations and the number of messages sent and received. However, warrants are required to access the contents of the messages.
RIM's co-operation with police led to the BlackBerry blog being hacked and defaced with a blackmail message warning that the angry mob could target RIM employees next.
David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, called for RIM to shut down BlackBerry Messenger altogether to stem further unrest but this has yet to occur.
Also playing the blame game was an unnamed police officer quoted in the Evening Standard saying of the looters: "These are bad people who did this. Kids out of control. When I was young it was all Pac-Man and board games. Now they're playing Grand Theft Auto and want to live it for themselves."
Twitter was asked by Britain's The Telegraph whether it would shut down rioters' accounts but the company said it required "freedom of expression" in order to fulfill its goals of instantly connecting people everywhere with what is most meaningful to them. Its reasoning is further outlined in a blog post from January.
Mobile phone operators T-Mobile and Orange have said they were prioritising police requests for information about customers who used their phones to organise the riots and looting.
eBay has confirmed that it will work with police to ensure that looters cannot sell stolen goods on the site, although it is not clear how the site will determine which goods are stolen.
While many stores have been stripped of their merchandise, Apple is taking no chances, removing all of the display gadgets from its Liverpool store and sending a phalanx of cops to guard its store in London's West End.
This reporter is on Twitter: @ashermoses
[View the story "London Riots: Social Media Mobilizes Riot Cleanup" on Storify]