back to article Don't get sued or cuffed on Twitter: Read these top 10 pitfalls

Debates in Parliament, home visits from the police and distressed celebrities have all left tweeters a little unsure as to what is and what is not acceptable by law on Twitter. The list of those offending and those offended keeps growing with recent high profile reports referring to Louise Mensch, Tom Daley, Guy Adams, Steve …

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Problem, Reaction, Solution ... Conditioning behavior.

Given that a "twat"* is part of the female anatomy, and given that British judges tend to be very literal, I think you would be unable to persuade one that you intended to state it as an established fact anyway.

*It is a derivative of the Northern English Thwaite, from the Norse, and it means a cleared space in a forest, i.e. a garden. As swear words go, it really is very inappropriate.

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Bronze badge

Re: Problem, Reaction, Solution ... Conditioning behavior.

Fox news is no different, and likely better, than CBS, NBC, ABC, and especially MSNBC. But you're welcome to maintain your ignorance by only watching news that agrees with your distorted viewpoint.

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Joke

Re: Problem, Reaction, Solution ... Conditioning behavior.

After slogging through the replies to your post, I've come to the conclusion that the proper Solution to the Problem is to use all the Lawyers for Reactor shielding.

Joke alert just so even the lawyers know this isn't intended to be defamatory.

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Coat

This post complies with all ten rules.

And as a result is very very boring.

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Re: This post complies with all ten rules.

Some people might view that as making a fool of the law and/or inciting law-breaking behaviour by implying that only things outside the law are worth doing. I'm sure that a skilled lawyer or f***witted jobsworth at Robin Hood airport can have you done for at least one of them.

Please remain where you are until the authorities come and arrest you.

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Facepalm

I've been programming for too long...

Because I first read that as This post compiles with all ten rules.

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IT Angle

could we add anything tweeting about 1direction & justin bieber serves a 10 year prision sentence?

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what about people giving PR to things they claim to hate?

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Anonymous Coward

Justin Bieber

Justin, Selena, Scooter. Selena falls, head wedged in railings. Scooter takes her, asks J if he wants to. J tempted, but head 2 big 4 gap.

140 characters. I'll be here all night.

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Anonymous Coward

Forgive me for stating the obvious

But isn't it time that we all make a stand for freedom of speech, rather than seeing it continuously eroded? I personally do not want to live in a society where I am too afraid to say, move, comment, or even think freely without fear (yes, FEAR) of offending someone who can't handle it or exercising my rights of copyright fair use.

How about we create Internet#1 where everything is locked down, conservative, nice and fluffy, where draconian thought-crime exists, and Internet#2 where people can just get on with being normal without fear of government or corporate harassment.

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Re: Forgive me for stating the obvious

"How about we create Internet#1 where everything is locked down, conservative, nice and fluffy, where draconian thought-crime exists, and Internet#2 where people can just get on with being normal without fear of government or corporate harassment."

We sort of tried that, back at the start of the public internet. It was called AOL if you remember. If you are too young to remember they operated a walled garden version of the net (which then was usenet, Lists, email and very early web, along with stuff like Fetch). It worked for while but then inmates of the walled garden realised there was lots of fun stuff happening outside and demanded holes in the walls which became so numerous they disappeared.

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Re: Forgive me for stating the obvious

We already have Internet#2, it's called 4chan

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Forgive me for stating the obvious

The problem you and many others seem to be having is what is considered free speech. I'm all for free speech when it is used against a governement or to uncover corporate abuse but not if it is used as an excuse to insult, bully or offend individuals sometimes to the point of suicide just because you think it's you're right to be able to do so without fear of repercussion.

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So should comedians be locked up?

You know there are two issues here:

1. The obvious is freedom of speech. And if you don't think it's an important point, think about the ramifications of no freedom of speech.

2. Those "high and mighty" "celebrities" growing a pair and ignoring what they don't like. Christ were they not called names at school? Am I not allowed to say that I think Nick Clegg is an idiot?

Sure there are a bucket loads of idiots on twitter. But it isn't against the law to be an idiot.

This is all about rich people and their PR companies trying to clamp down on the "image" they are fabricating to portray and nothing else. It isn't about anything else.

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Anonymous Coward

"Am I not allowed to say that I think Nick Clegg is an idiot?"

as i understand, you ARE allowed to say that. if nothing else, truth is a defence so if you truely think that then how would there be a problem? what your not allowed to say is a factual, but untrue, statement about him - for example 'nick clegg just nicked my car' (without context) would probably be libelous. its not an opinion, its not provably true, therefore its libelous and probably defamation too.

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Anonymous Coward

In summary...

Don't be a dick.

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Very interesting article, merci el reg!

Also glad I didn't tweet my thoughts on seb coe last night; probably would fall foul of these laws (despite being true). He's a bit of a ****** **** really, if wikipedia is to be believed.

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Joke

My advice...

Become a sex addict - seriously - spend every spare moment you have shagging, tossing, flicking, x-tubing, whatever - just keep your hands busy - best way to avoid your idle thumbs getting you sent to guantanamo bay for threatening to blow up an Olympic swimmer or something stupid!

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WTF?

Copied Tweets?

So retweeting is now copyright infringement?

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Boffin

Re: Copied Tweets?

Re-tweeting isn't copyright infringement since the original attribution exists.

Cutting and pasting the content of a tweet could be considered infringement, depending on the context and content of the original tweet and the re-use of the tweet.

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Stop

Re: Copied Tweets?

Strictly speaking, I don't think original attribution is a valid defense, otherwise I could share sheet music, an mp3 or movie as long as I stated it was owned/created by Sony etc...

Basically, I don't think retweets have been tested under copyright law (they probably never will be - but I'd never underestimate how low a troll will sink).

Personally I haven't updated my twitter account for months, since the corporates, celebutards and oppressive regimes started using Twitter as a tool to stomp on people expressing themselves harmlessly.

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Re: Copied Tweets?

In UK copyright law at least, the issue isn't attribution - it's permission. So retweeting might indeed constitute copyright infringement the original tweeter had not given permission and were to decide to be a literalist. Courtesy of the media moguls who are powerful enough to buy the law and just want our money any which way, it's technically almost impossible to avoid copyright infringement unless we stay silent and never write anything in public.

But in practical terms, due to the cost of litigation, it all comes down to money (like just about everything else). Unless it were a recognised catch phrase (e.g. a movie or pop song quote or a commercial strap line) it would be a very wealthy copyright owner to complain about the use of half a dozen words on Twitter. But it's worth reviewing the restrictions imposed recently in relation to a major sporting event in London, see http://www.keystonelaw.co.uk/other/keynotes/2012/june/restrictions-of-olympic-proportions

Although these particular restrictions rest largely on trade mark law, it's clear that the whole IP system is getting out of hand - becoming a source of revenue rather than it's original purpose of protecting creative works against debasement.

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Anonymous Coward

Number eleven

Don't let you anon Twitter account become insecure.

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FAIL

Re: Number eleven

Doesn't even matter if you keep it secure Sting op exposes politician over Twitter rants

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Anonymous Coward

Phew. I was making some rather offkey comments about Pete Townsend on twitter last night during the closing ceremony and was worried I might get fingered. Reading through this checklist however I think my trolling was safe.

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Boffin

The bottom line... why tweet?

Sorry, I just have to wonder why most people tweet and if those that they follow on twitter are really worth the time in reading their tweets.

I just saw a statistic that Lady Gaga had somewhere more than 23 million followers on twitter. Compare this to Time Magazine's 3 million subscribers. (Rough numbers)

What sort of commentary does that say about today's society? That we value or listen more to our 'stars' than we do to respectable news outlets...

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Re: The bottom line... why tweet?

The problem is "respectable news outlets". There aren't many of them.

Given a choice between following an entertainer and following crap news that's been spun to the point of nonsense, I'll stick with the entertainment. At least I'm not being fed bullshit.

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Fortunately, Twitter isn't used by any 'reasonable person'

and thus anything should be permitted.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fortunately, Twitter isn't used by any 'reasonable person'

I was thinking about these pitfalls in the context of other social media sites and in particular these very forums and came to a the same conclusion, that we could probably get away with much of what we write as there doesn't seem to be any "reasonable person" on here.

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Slow news day?

In other words, if you can't do it in the real world, don't do it on Twitter, either.

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Anonymous Coward

If you're a TWIT...

...then maybe it's in your best interest to be cuffed and hauled off to get your head examined?

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Anonymous Coward

"Number three: tweets revealing personal or confidential information"

The authors aren't seriously suggesting that the Data Protection Act applies to all informattion flows between individuals, are they?? That is stretching things somewhat. It implies, for example, that what I learn from overhearing someone talking in a pub is now information that falls under the influence of the DPA.

Doesn't seem remotely sensible to me.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "Number three: tweets revealing personal or confidential information"

But tweets are not between individuals. And yes, if you were to work in the NHS, say, and reveal the embarrassing illness of a patient to a third party in a pub, you would be in breach of the DPA exactly as if Dodgy McExmet of the News of the Screws phoned you up at work and asked for the goods in exchange for the contents of a brown envelope.

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Anonymous Coward

@ribosome - Re: "Number three: tweets revealing personal or confidential information"

I agree with your example. If I worked for the NHS and revealed personal data by any means (including through Twitter), then I would expect to fall foul of the DPA.

My pub example actually referred to my actions in revealing any old information obtained by eavesdropping. I felt that 'Number 3' was in danger of implying that the DPA applied to general breaches of confidence, even those between individual members of the public.

Otherwise, I thought it was a very good article.

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Joke

What is the tweeting you speak of?

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You Brits make great peasants.

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Bronze badge

"A tweet containing a false statement that induces another person to act on it may offend laws against deceit and the making of misrepresentations. "

If you've ever seen a US political ad, you know that a great many hacks in both Parties lie and distort the other's positions in order to induce you to vote for their candidate. If we could borrow this rule for just one election cycle we could put all the politicians and their sycophants in jail.

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Mushroom

Oh boy here we go...... Now you want to put a end to cybor bullying?It's about time. Well you may very well have to shut twitter down. Because once you inact these rules, the only people who would follow these will be academics. Everybody els is heading for the hills with all their fame and glory leaving twitter looking like a a tsunami hit twice. Now the question after that Will be, can Facebook handle the mass exadous form twits ville? There will be opportunity. With folks posting nicely along side thier parents, grandparent, kids, shift managers, friends, pottential bosses, advertising adverts while playing farmville..... Could be a huge payday for zuck, if he could find a way to get folks to play with real money and not with likes. As for twitter and all this change????? That's your bread and butter baby, you got a pitbull, now you want a poodle with pink hair.... good luck.

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On the other hand, fuck twitter & the idiots using it.

Honestly, the mind boggles ... is there really any use for twitter (facebook, myspace, google, etc. ...)?

I've been providing similar services for me & mine since before Q-Link became AOL ...

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Anonymous Coward

Rise of the Neo-Luddites

My social network is shitter/older/more text based than yours

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Re: Rise of the Neo-Luddites

My social network *is* older than yours. The oldest member is a Great Uncle. He's 103 years old. I actually talk to him face to face fairly regularly. Throw in me, my Father & his two brothers, and we have around 415 years total life experience between us. And a hell of a fun poker/blackjack game :-)

Yes, most folks in my circle use text based communications tools. They work quite nicely, and have been available to us non-stop since Flag Day. Why do you have an issue with this? Serious question.

But shittier? No. I have to take exception there ... all-singing, all dancing, glittery, advert-ridden bandwidth wasters are definitely shittier than the tools we use. By way of reference, my nieces & nephews[1] have all tried "modern" social networking. None of them use it anymore ... reasons for returning to the "friends and family" network include: (!GooMyFaceYouMSTwit) is "too slow", "ugly", "noisy", "adverts suck!", "I can't make it look like I want it to look", "it goes down too often", "the interface changes too often", "they change my settings too often", "they want me to change my addons too often", "they lose my stuff too often", etc.

[1] Yes, their friends (and attendant families), are allowed to have accounts on jakenet[2].

[2] Actual name changed for reasons of practicality.

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Anonymous Coward

Twitter is for twits

Abandon all hope for privacy, all ye who post personal information on social media sites.

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Re: Twitter is for twits

That works pretty well if you take "privacy," out of that sentence too.

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