Laws for Twitter?

Posted by on May 29, 2011 in Social Media Strategy, Twitter | No Comments

A brave, but calculated move by Sunday Herald

So it turns out Ryan Giggs name was not revealed by ‘disgruntled tabloid journalists’ on Twitter – rather a ‘leftie banker’ from Guildford.
If, like me, you’re a bit fed up with this super-injunction debate, you’ll probably be thinking ‘who cares?’

Well, I’d argue that this proves something I’ve always suspected: journalists use social media differently and, dare I say it, more responsibly than those without media training.

When I was doing my postgrad, there was a huge emphasis on learning the legal consequences of what you publish. Defamation is a complex issue, as is contempt of court. You really can’t call yourself a hack until you understand that there are constraints on printing stories that have nothing to do with stifling freedom of speech.

Twitter is just another publishing platform and I think it should be bound by the same laws as the printed media. Of course, in practice, this is almost impossible. The immediate nature of the microblogging site means messages spread so fast that you can miss entire stories by simply not checking your feed one morning. It doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.

If you’re a business using Twitter, you need to have at least a working knowledge of the relevant laws and what might happen if you post something vaguely controversial. A throwaway comment can be retweeted, commented on, picked up by other media – and before you know it, you’re at the centre of all the wrong kind of PR.


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