It seems that Social Media users are still not getting the message about the serious consequences of tweeting before you think!
Today we have the news that the Attorney General is planning to bring contempt of court proceedings against people who have posted recent pictures of James Bulger killer Jon Venables. This is in direct breach of a court order prohibiting publication of their identities. So it seems that the penny still hasn’t dropped that a tweet or status update or anything else for that matter is still a publication. The fact that we may do it from the comfort of our own living room or office is neither here nor there.
We are seeing case after case relating to Twitter or Facebook. There has been the high profile action taken by Lord McAlpine against those tweeters who wrongly implicated him in an abuse scandal. He has recently offered to withdraw the case against those with limited followers, but the still continues against high profile users like Sally Bercow MP –
Last year saw the imprisonment of the pranksters who posted Facebook messages inciting people to riot, and also the twitter user who posted offensive remarks about footballer Fabrice Muamba.
Of course there have been bizarre prosecutions including that of Paul Chambers who joked that he would ‘blow up’ his local airport if it did not re-open soon. He was dragged all the way to the court of Appeal before common sense prevailed. Hopefully those cases will diminish following the Director of Prosecutions’ statement that comments which were deleted quickly might avoid prosecutions –
But that will not help those who ignore court orders or commit libel.
Social Media is changing the world of communication and this can only be good thing. But if we all think carefully before we hit the keypad a whole of trouble can be avoided.
The best advice is ‘don’t do it!!’