Stacey was found guilty under the Racially Aggravated s4A Public
order Act 1986 and was sentenced to 56 days in jail and his
university told him to not bother coming back to complete his
finals. So the messages we post on Twitter are not ephemeral. They
do have meaning and can be treated as published words in the eye of
But Twitter is still a free for all. Take a look at the profiles
of many people where they state their company and job title. Often
there is an extra line saying 'these are my personal views, not
those of my employer'.
Really? But nobody has ever tested this in court and isn't
it obvious that if you have announced on your profile who you work
for then surely that company will have an interest in what you are
publishing if it diverges far from what they would call their
And what of the retweet dilemma? Imagine you work for an Israeli
company and you notice a news story about academics trying to make
'Mein Kampf' available in Germany once again. You retweet
the story because it is interesting then someone in your company
asks why you are endorsing the wider availability for the works of
Who is right? Does a retweet merely indicate that this is
something interesting you want to share, or is it an implicit
endorsement of what you are linking to?
None of this has been tested in court yet so I am sure the
coming years are going to feature many more Liam Stacey's
– lives ruined because of an ill-judged Tweet.
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