Gagging orders or super injunctions will not work on social media – FACT

Please excuse me if this is a bit of a rant but I felt the need to get it out of my system once and for all.

You would have to have been hidden under an extremely large rock this week to miss the story about a twitter user revealing the details of celebrity super injunctions on Twitter. In fact, it even made the 10’o clock news last night and my first thought was why?image

Various people confirmed on Twitter last week the details of the married footballer – in fact he was even trending on Twitter. So it wasn’t exactly news – it had been on Twitter for more than a week. So why all the sudden exposure?

Super-injunctions are issued by the courts to protect people from what they see as their right to privacy from the media. If it is a super injunction even the fact that an injunction has been granted, or the name of the person applying for it, must be kept secret. It was revealed yesterday that no super-Injunctions have even been issued this year, these are just injunctions (no super) and that is why we are all hearing so much about them.

It seems the latest fashion, if you want to sleep with a hooker, and you are a celebrity is to get a gagging order (too many jokes not enough time).

So this user was revealing the details of who they felt were the guilty parties except they got several details incorrect. This is another problem, twitter is an echo-chamber, a place where we share news, thoughts, advice, feelings and facts. Facts that can actually be wrong. Yes as humans we do get things wrong. So now the discussion has moved onto can this person actually be prosecuted?  Err no they can’t and do they want to anyway?

There were various lawyers on the radio yesterday saying they could force twitter to reveal the twitter user’s account details. What is that going to achieve? The Twitter account could have been set-up with a fake email address – so you may never know who it was. Also who cares who it was anyway? If you did find them are the celebrities in question going to sue them? And if so what are they going to get? Probably nothing.

Twitter is for conversation albeit it is conversation online that can be found and shared. Super injunctions are used to stop newspapers covering a story and if they do the celebrity in question can then sue for damages. They can’t sue for much here though – it would cost more than they would probably get?

Commenting on BBC News, Lord Falconer said:

“If a point is reached as a matter of evidence when everyone knows who the injunctions are about then they become pretty pointless. It sounds like it’s very difficult to make sure that injunctions like this are complied with.”

My point exactly, social media super injunctions will never work because it is too easy to set up fake accounts on Twitter, Facebook or any other network for that matter. The fact that the people sharing these stories don’t have much money makes the appeal of suing them far less I am sure. Worse still, if the celebrity does sue then they are confirming the story is true anyway therefore making the process totally pointless.

My advice to celebrities and footballers would be stop sleeping with prostitutes in the first place.

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2 comments on “Gagging orders or super injunctions will not work on social media – FACT
  1. It amazes me how people jump on the tweets as proof. It shows that the British public don’t care for credible sources or even credible journalism, they just want something they can convince themselves to believe.

    This Twitter account has zero credibility so in my eyes it should be ignored like the drunk man in street shouting about his shoes (or something).

  2. Thanks Paul, I completely agree just because a story is online doesn’t make it true. In fact I bet someone could start a great rumour on Twitter if well thought through. I wouldn’t be suprised at all if some PR agencies had used it to stop another rumour getting out.

    The credibility of a tweet is nothing until it is qualified and confirmed.

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