Twitter Tirades Test Limits Of Freedom Of Speech
AP - JILL LAWLESS - Tue Nov 23 2011
LONDON: What's a tweet, between friends? The law says sometimes it's a threat.
One man thought he was just bantering with his pals when he joked about blowing
an airport sky-high. Another was reacting to a radio phone-in when he mused about
stoning a journalist to death. Because they made their throwaway comments on Twitter,
both are in legal trouble.
Their cases have outraged civil libertarians and inflamed the debate about the limits of
free speech in a Web 2.0 world. The Internet increasingly makes private jokes, tastes
and opinions available for public consumption, blurring the line between public and private
in a way that has left the law struggling to keep up.
"I think people don't have any idea of the potential legal ramifications of things they post
on the Internet," said Gregor Pryor, a digital media lawyer at Reed Smith in London. "Anything
you post on Twitter can come back and haunt you."