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Twitter, how could you sell me out?

Posted by: Khatija


English Premier League footballer, Ryan Giggs, was identified by tweeters as having had an affair with model and Big Brother contestant, Imogen Thomas. Giggs, who got an order from a British Court, wants Twitter to reveal the identities of the various tweeters. 

This has been considered one of the many defamation cases leading to the issue of such orders.

Britain has seen an increase in the issue of “super injunctions” which are court orders requiring particular group(s) to refrain from doing certain acts, in this case revealing his name and said-extra-marital affairs.  

Newspapers, reporters and bloggers continued to distribute the player’s name despite the order barring publication of his identity.  MP John Hemmings named Giggs on the floor of the House of Commons but was protected by the Parliamentary privilege.  This in turn put Giggs’ name on public record allowing the media to name him without fear of criminal penalty. 

Twitter, however, is not required to reveal the identities of the tweeters who published the names and information as the organisation is not subject to the jurisdiction of a British Court as they are an America-based company. 

In an attempt to ban discussion of the subject it has only attracted more attention, known as the Streisand effect.

The hope for freedom of speech and privacy is lost with the rise of a medium that is meant to increase citizen participation, encourage a global conversation and healthy debate.

The quick spread of information whether verified or not allowed by social networking sites has introduced ethical challenges.

A recent incident concerning a tweet by South African cricket player, Lonwabo Tsotsobe has led to him being fired by Essex, a cricket club in the United Kingdom (UK).

 Tsotsobe tweeted on 23 May 2011, “Ive never felt like ths eva. Ths is the worst two mnths of my life. And u know wen u start regretin urself it aint gud.”

This was not an isolated incident and had followed a series of tweets revealing Tsotsobe’s feelings about his time in the UK.  The tweets were deemed unprofessional and disrespectful by Essex coach, Paul Grayson.

The line between the personal and the professional is further blurred by social media.  Unless your twitter your profile is privatised anyone can republish your content and publicise it.
As with journalists, a celebrity or an ordinary citizen’s professionalism is judged by what they say online.

Until the next time


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