Trending

The Trouble with Tweeting

Global Young Professionals listen up - consider before you comment as your tweets could cause trouble.

Despite the obvious benefits of social media facilitating widespread communication and creating a means of generating global discussion about topical issues, which engages millions of online social media users every day. Not all topics up for popular discussion can be instantly published to an audience of thousands without a thought for repercussions.

The Attorney General Dominic Grieve has issued advisory notes, which are publicly available online, to discourage twitter users from expressing remarks and opinions concerning criminal cases which could pervert the course of justice through compromising the integrity of court proceedings. This need to educate people about the legal drawbacks of tweeting about such cases is imperative in protecting people from publishing posts that equate to contempt of court.

All published comments must comply with the Contempt of Court Act 1981, which encompasses a breadth of behaviour types which intentionally or accidentally undermine or could be reasonably understood to pose a high probability of undermining a defendants right to a fair trial.

Interestingly, the Contempt of Court Act pre-dates the emergence of the Internet thus the role of social media in committing contempt may become problematic if this legislation fails to sufficiently regulate this rising form of publication.

In an attempt to deter potential controversial publications, the General Attorney has expressed caution to users of online social media that the penalties for committing contempt of court may indeed increase in severity alongside the statement that the claim of ignorance in mitigation will be rejected. Similarly, social media users must be aware that re-tweeting is equally as defamatory as writing the original post.

“Re-tweeting is equally as defamatory as writing the original post”

A key example of this issue is illustrated in the case of Chad Evans (which generated in excess of 6,000 tweets), whereby nine people revealed the identity of the victim, through online social media, which breached the victims legal right to lifelong anonymity. The nine persons who used social media to comment on the case not only identified the victim but were also the source of the abuse directed at the victim, which is a further aspect of online social media all users need to be aware of.

Under the Communications Act 2003, section 127;

127 Improper use of public electronic communications network

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a)sends by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or

            (b)causes any such message or matter to be so sent.

(2) A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he—

(a) sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false

(b) causes such a message to be sent; or

(c) persistently makes use of a public electronic communications         network.

This act outlines the details of what constitutes as an improper use of public electronic communications networks, as should be adhered to by all those who publish content online.

Equivalent in relevance is the Public Order Act 1986, section 4A, which extends the responsibility of online users to act in ways that are not deemed abusive.

4 Fear or provocation of violence.

(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he—

(a) uses towards another person threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or

(b) distributes or displays to another person any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

with intent to cause that person to believe that immediate unlawful    violence will be used against him or another by any person, or to provoke the immediate use of unlawful violence by that person or another, or whereby that person is likely to believe that such violence will be used or it is likely that such violence will be provoked.

These legislative acts are not orchestrated with the objective of restricting a person’s right to the freedom of speech but it provides a framework from which discussion can flourish in lawful manner.

At the end of the day – would you want your trial influenced by online speculation?


Image credit: ©Shutterstock.com

About these ads

Sponsored Advertisement

Comments not written in English will be given a translation below the original comment. This is because English is largely the common language of most of GYE's readers and thus we hope this will facilitate discussion and debate.

36 Comments on The Trouble with Tweeting

  1. I think you should be allowed to tweet about whatever you want on the internet – it’s called freedom of speech!

    Like

  2. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

    Like

  3. This is very interesting, You’re a very professional blogger.

    I have joined your feed and look ahead to seeking more of your fantastic post.
    Additionally, I’ve shared your site in my social networks

    Like

  4. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed!

    Very helpful information specially the last part :
    ) I care for such information a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

    Like

  5. Thanks for finally talking about The Trouble with
    Tweeting | Global Young Executive (GYE) – Liked it!

    Like

  6. I appreciate your web-site. Maintain the truly amazing work. I’ll come back to you and learn more posts produced by you. High five!!

    Like

  7. I don’t think it is fair that if you tweet about something then you can face legal action against you. It seems to be a a way of restricting freedom of speech and expression. We should be encouraging people to debate topics online rather than restrict it – debating and discussion could allow more people to be aware of whats going on in the world as everyone spends so much time on social media.

    Like

  8. When it is is online, it is there forever. Noone has the right to write anything they feel like and display is publicly in cyberspace for all to see when they are writing about someone else. ENough said.

    Like

  9. We have to protect people from others tweets information, sometimes inaccurately, which can affect their reputation. 140 characters isn’t enough to explain the context/background of a statement made in a tweet.

    Like

  10. sounds like censoring to me. they don’t want us all talking about current cases online in case we dare form our own opinion. i like hearing what other people’s interpretations are of events – it is always good practice to listen to opinions from a variety of sources

    Like

  11. Edwina Riesland // September 25, 2014 at 10:51 pm // Reply

    don’t regret tweeting

    Like

  12. Alicia Gawler // September 26, 2014 at 4:39 am // Reply

    Magnifique article

    English translation: Wonderful article

    Like

  13. Cierra Mosley // September 26, 2014 at 9:55 am // Reply

    Ceѕ articles sont réellement instructifs

    English translation: The articles are really informative

    Like

  14. Οn voit de suite que vous connaisse très biеn le sujet

    English translation: “Οn see immediately that you know very good topic”

    Like

  15. Јe n’ai point fini de lire mais je reviens demain

    English translation: “I have not finished reading but I go back tomorrow”

    Like

  16. Post très éclairante !!!

    English translation: “Post very enlightening”

    Like

  17. Je viendrai de nouveau demain j’apprécie l’article comme celui-ci.

    English translation: “I will come again tomorrow I enjoy article like this one.”

    Like

  18. J’espère pour discuter de ce sujet avec des amis

    English translation: “I hope to discuss this topic with friends.”

    Like

  19. El piar no debería ser un crimen!

    English translation: “Tweeting should not be a crime!”

    Like

  20. Splеndide article une fois plus

    English translation: “Splеndid article once more”

    Like

  21. Je suis arrivé sur votre site par hasard, mais je suis heureux que j’ai trouvé maintenant!

    English translation: “I came on your site by accident but I am pleased I’ve found it now!”

    Like

  22. Formidablе аrticle : ϲontinue de cette manière

    English translation: ” Formidablе аrticle : continue this way”

    Like

  23. Encore une fois un très bon post, je vais partager avec mes amis

    English translation: “Again a very good post, I will share with my friends”

    Like

  24. Vous faîtes toujours des posts fascinants

    English transition: “You are doing always fascinating posts”

    Like

  25. Vous écrire constamment des articles intéressants

    English translation: “You write constantly interesting articles”

    Like

  26. Je peux dire que n’est absurde !!

    English translation: “I can say that is absurd!!”

    Like

  27. Cet article me donne envie de lire la suite

    English translation: “This article makes me want to read more”

    Like

  28. Excellent post

    Like

  29. Gwen Kroemer // October 7, 2014 at 1:39 pm // Reply

    I drop a comment when I like a post on a website or I have something to add to the discussion. It’s a result of the sincerness communicated in the article I read.
    And on this article The Trouble with Tweeting | Global Young
    Executive (GYE). I was excited enough to drop a thought :-P I really enjoyed this article and I urge you to write more on the topic.

    Like

  30. Une fois de рlus un postе effeϲtivement attractif

    English translation: This is actually exciting artіcles

    Like

  31. Aгticle follement fascinant

    English translation: Wildly fascinating Article

    Like

  32. trèѕ bon post : j’en parlerai dans la soirée avec mes collègues

    English translation: very good post: I will speak in the evening with my colleagues

    Like

  33. je suis tombé par votre message, et c’est formidable que je serai de retour pour vous

    English translation: i came by your post and it is great i will be back again for sure

    Like

  34. Ѕublime article

    Like

  35. I am in fact grateful to the team of this website who has shared this fantastic article at here.

    Like

  36. Although I don’t see eye to eye with all you wrote here, I must admit
    I do like your way of writing.

    Like

1 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Pippa

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Gravatar
WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s