Nice try Mr Twitter

27 05 2011

Category; Media, Law, Privacy

If the courts took the approach I recently talked about and simply used the common law to deal with the issues raised by superinjunctions it’s been suggested to me this wouldn’t cover the twitter problem…it might stop the newspapers, but it can’t stop individuals tweeting away.

Yes it can. And the head of Twitter in Europe seems to have realised that too. Tony Wang recently warned that individual users who post secrets need to watch out because the law might come after them.

Platforms have a responsibility, not to defend that user but to protect that user’s right to defend him or herself.

If we’re legally required to turn over user information, to the extent that we can, we want to notify the user involved, let them know and let them exercise their rights under their own jurisdiction.

Nice try Mr Twitter. He’s saying that to try and deflect attention from his own organisation and its role. Organisations like Twitter have been treated simply as conduits used by other people to communicate.

It is completely impractical to track down and claim against every individual twitter user. Twitter needs to be seen for what it is; a facilitator not simply a conduit. Without Twitter no one would have been able to break those injunctions.

Twitter  could be put on notice about potential intrusions into privacy and if it doesn’t take adequate action to stop its users breaking the law (by suspending the accounts for example) then under the common law Twitter could be financially liable for facilitating the damage caused, not the individual tweeter. Or if they wanted they could join the tweeter to the action, but they know that most of those people aren’t worth pursuing.

It’s Twitter that has the money, and as I have previously quoted, you just have to listen to the sage advice of the character ‘Deep Throat’ in the film ‘All The President’s Men’;  ‘Follow the money’ .



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