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Twitter Censorship The Courts Your Rights Online

Tweeter To Be Prosecuted, Twitter Now Censoring? 195

Posted by samzenpus
from the none-shall-tweet dept.
Andy Smith writes "Slashdot has already covered the super-injunctions furore in the UK, with one famous footballer going after an anonymous Twitter user who broke a court order and revealed his extra-marital affair. Now another footballer has asked the attorney general to prosecute a well-known journalist and TV personality, who went against another super-injunction and wrote about this footballer, again on Twitter. Meanwhile, going back to the first footballer, it looks like he's got Twitter running scared, as the site is apparently blocking his name from appearing on the trend list, despite him being one of the most tweeted-about people."
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Tweeter To Be Prosecuted, Twitter Now Censoring?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    why would ryan giggs do such a thing?

  • by Threni (635302) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @09:48AM (#36208116)

    Just heard former Big Brother contestant Imogen Thomas has got a secret singing career.
    Apparently she's been doing gigs in Manchester for ages.

  • Names dammit! It's hard to keep track of who's doing what without names. I know about Giggs so who exactly is the "another" player here?
    • by Artifex (18308)

      You're right, Slashdot is not UK-based. It's also Slashdot. Which means most of us probably don't follow sports celebrities. :)

      Now that you've got me actually reading the linked blog, I see Andy Smith gives a "Round of applause for today’s Sunday Herald for identifying the footballer who is trying to sue a Twitter user for identifying him, in violation of a court order." But does he dare say the name, himself?

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Ryan Giggs. The genie is out of the bottle.

        They made a good point about these injunctions on Radio 4. They are often used to prevent blackmail. Maybe Ryan Gifts didn't do it, but now everyone thinks he did.

        • by e4g4 (533831)

          Ryan Giggs [...] Ryan Gifts

          --
          Sent from my iPad

        • by richlv (778496)

          so talking about this might slightly change the society so that sex wouldn't be a reason for blackmail ?
          yay. who fucked whom, again ? :)

      • Which means most of us probably don't follow sports celebrities.

        Some of us don't follow ANY "celebrities". They are all dissappointing, sooner or later. Hell, even John Wayne cashed in his chips some years ago. If the Duke let us down, all the celebs will, eventually.

      • by jonbryce (703250)

        He says it in the print edition of the paper, only available in Scotland; not on the web edition which is also available in England where the court order was made.

      • by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @03:53PM (#36211116) Journal

        for identifying the footballer who is trying to sue a Twitter user for identifying him, in violation of a court order.

        What is the public benefit to prohibiting publication of some guy messing around? If someone finds out about something someone is doing, why would it be made illegal to talk about if it is true? Isn't this a violation of free speech? Oh, I forgot, this is in England, the most heavily 'big brothered' country outside of a communist block. No wonder an Englishman could envision 1984. Keep working at it. Soon you will indeed have the ministry of truth.

        • by xaxa (988988)

          If someone finds out about something someone is doing, why would it be made illegal to talk about if it is true? Isn't this a violation of free speech?

          No, actually. Free speech protects political speech. There are non-political restrictions on speech in the US, too.

          Another important right is the right to respect for private and family life [wikipedia.org].

          I don't care about the celebrities, and I can see it's not simply a black/white question balancing free speech and privacy.

          However, there have been "super injunctions" applied to Trafigura [wikipedia.org], a oil/energy/metal company, which has no right to privacy (or any other rights, it's a company). The media's obsession with celeb

    • by neokushan (932374)

      Ok so it's Ryan giggs, we've got that. But who's the journalist? I figured it'd be Ian Hisslop but I'm not sure.

      • Ok so it's Ryan giggs, we've got that. But who's the journalist? I figured it'd be Ian Hisslop but I'm not sure.

        Giles Coren for tweeting about TSE - (Gareth Barry), another Player whose taking out an injunction preventing folk talking about an affair he had.

      • by Bertie (87778)

        I think I know who it is but I'm not 100% sure. I'll give you a clue - he's a former editor of a major national tabloid and widely hated. But he's not Piers Morgan.

        • by madprof (4723)

          You mean Kelvin MacKenzie and no it is not him. Kelvin apparently told a Sun reader about Ryan Giggs.

      • by pjt33 (739471)

        Ian Hislop clearly despises superinjunctions, but he prefers not to be sued. Just see the "Odd One Out" round on recent episodes of HIGNFY (IIRC series 41 episodes 4 and 5; possibly also 3; the OOO round is usually about three quarters of the way through the non-extended version, and you can find them on Youtube).

    • by madprof (4723) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @10:21AM (#36208330)

      The journalist is Giles Coren and the footballer is Gareth Barry. So I read on a website.
      http://www.information-britain.co.uk/tweeters/user/47583067/ [informatio...tain.co.uk]

      • And now some sportsperson I never heard of is indelibly marked as an alduterer. Gotta love that Streisand effect.

        • by madprof (4723)

          He is a midfielder for Manchester City. He is nowhere near as good as Ryan Giggs. Either on the pitch or in generating the Streisand Effect.

  • by Ziekheid (1427027) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @09:56AM (#36208154)

    Are you telling me that cheap gossip like extra-marital affairs of pro footballers will have to be leaked through wikileaks in the future?

    • by iamhassi (659463) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @10:19AM (#36208318) Journal
      "Are you telling me that cheap gossip like extra-marital affairs of pro footballers will have to be leaked through wikileaks in the future?"

      I'm less concerned about cheating football players and more concerned with overthrowing [southjerseylocalnews.com] corrupt governments [techcrunch.com]. Can a corrupt judge in a corrupt government simply say "don't talk about revolution" and Twitter will simply roll over and play dead? How would the Egyptian and Tunisia revolutions gone without the communication that Twitter provided?

      Looks like we need a replacement for twitter.
      • Looks like we need a replacement for twitter.

        Actually - Great Britian needs a few replacement laws regarding freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and repealing huge parts of their libel and defamation laws.

        Also, a legal trick here in the US might help out over there. If you address an officer of the court (a cop), telling him that he's an asshole, he can file charges against you. However, if you use the prefix, "In my opinion, you're being an asshole!" he can't do anything. It's a matter of stating an opinion, versus phrasing the same thing as

        • by jonbryce (703250)

          The European Convention on Human Rights has the right to privacy at No. 8, and the right to freedom of speech at No. 10.

          Human rights are not an absolute thing, one right contradicts another, and you have to find a balance. He we have decided that the right to privacy and the right to protect your reputation against untrue statements is more important that the right to free speech.

          • by IICV (652597)

            Human rights are not an absolute thing, one right contradicts another, and you have to find a balance. He we have decided that the right to privacy and the right to protect your reputation against untrue statements is more important that the right to free speech.

            Apparently, you've also decided that the right to protect your reputation against true statements is more important than the right to free speech - IIRC, in England truth is not an absolute defense against accusations of libel or slander.

            • by jonbryce (703250)

              It is, but the burden of proof is on the person making the statement to prove that it is true.

        • by gilgongo (57446)

          So, try it out, Brits. Instead of posting, "John is a poof", try, "In my opinion, John is a poof."

          The same goes for "allegedly" - allegedly.

        • by russotto (537200)

          Also, a legal trick here in the US might help out over there. If you address an officer of the court (a cop), telling him that he's an asshole, he can file charges against you. However, if you use the prefix, "In my opinion, you're being an asshole!" he can't do anything. It's a matter of stating an opinion, versus phrasing the same thing as a fact.

          This is nonsense. In the US, calling a cop an asshole is protected speech regardless of whether you preface it with "in my opinion". However, the result either

      • Twitter didn't censor the messages, just the "trend list." It wouldn't have hurt the revolutionaries at all.

        • by John Allsup (987)
          Someone made a post elsewhere saying that the trend list is based not on mentions per second, but in the increase in mentions per second. Anonymous Footballer's (I'm in England BTW) lack of presence is probably because he is being tweeted slightly less now than when this really broke out. Just a thought. (We don't know how the trending algorithms work in detail, so we can't tell from behaviour whether they are being interfered with.)
    • by hedwards (940851)

      To be honest, that was never any business of the public at large. It's just that in the UK they can go to the courts and get an injunction. Whereas in the US there's little to nothing that can be done to keep the press out of the private lives of celebrities. To an extent that's natural, but if it didn't happen in public it's not public information.

      • by John Hasler (414242) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @10:35AM (#36208438) Homepage

        > ...if it didn't happen in public it's not public information.

        If it didn't happen in public the public would not know about it.

        • Bingo! John wins the intertubez for today for what should be the most obvious and yet, most intelligent, statement of this thread.

        • >> ...if it didn't happen in public it's not public information.
          > If it didn't happen in public the public would not know about it. When you are a celebrity the lines between public and private shift. She might have been visiting him at home, and yet it could become public knowledge from a gossipy neighbor. Regardless, the press should be free to report it. It's not like celebrities don't get compensated for their loss of privacy.
        • And if you threw something away in a rubbish bin without shredding it first, it's "public." If you use a email server that's not locked down tight, it's "public". If someone can hack into your mobile service, any messages stored there are "public."

    • by neuro88 (674248)
      Nope. It's because of how the twitter trending algorithm works. They don't allow the same topics to continually trend, otherwise Justin Bieber would be almost all the top trends all the time. This was explained to me by my pro-wikileaks friend even before the wikileaks fiasco occurred and who also happens to work for twitter. He also re-explained this to me during the whole wikileaks mess. This is also the explanation twitter gave.

      Everyone, can we please move on from this conspiracy theory?
    • by Inda (580031)
      I've had three posts on the BBC's 606 sports forum removed today for mentioning the name of the unspoken one. In one of my posts, I named him as "the player we cannot mention" and that was removed too.

      How am I, Joe Public, meant to know which football player the story is about? I could list all 800 English Premier League players and be breaking the law. It's unbelievably illogical. If I, a minion of the almighty government, had access to the court injunction, I could refrain from guessing names and I would
      • by julesh (229690)

        How am I, Joe Public, meant to know which football player the story is about? I could list all 800 English Premier League players and be breaking the law.

        You're only breaking the law if you know at the time you publish it that the information is illegal to publish. Assuming you really don't know the identity of the footballers in question, you cannot break the law by speculating, because you also obviously would not know what the injunction prevents. You can't break a court order if you don't know of the order's existence...

  • Similar to the trend list thing, here's another case of apparent censorship under fear. A newspaper identified one of the footballers, and that issue of the paper is missing from the online newsagent PressDisplay, even though PressDisplay is based in Canada, supposedly outside the reach of UK courts.

    http://www.meejahor.com/2011/05/22/paper-identifies-injunction-footballer-scares-online-newsagent/ [meejahor.com]

    • It also might be due to copyright. PressDisplay would need a license from the newspaper to distribute it online wouldn't they? And the newspaper presumably couldn't license and distribute something that's been barred by a court order, could they?

      Still bad though.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The algorithm that twitter use favours novelty tweets over mass tweets. For my location Ryan Giggs is still trending whilst it has stopped elsewhere. There was an explanation of this after people accused twitter of censoring cablegate and wikileaks.

    So: TD;DR Twitter are NOT censoring Giggs, its just their algorithm doing what it does.

  • A suggestion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dwillden (521345) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @10:13AM (#36208286) Homepage
    For those overpaid athletes: Don't want people tweeting about your affairs? Don't step out on your spouse. It's plain and simple. If they insist on being able to cheat on their wives then they should retire and leave the limelight so nobody will care.

    Their fame naturally reduces their ability to live a private life. But they don't have to live that life, they could get a regular job and disappear into the crowd.
    • For gossip-mongers: Get a life of your own.

    • Re:A suggestion (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DaveGod (703167) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @12:36PM (#36209448)

      The flaw in your point is it's not proven he has been cheating and tabloid stories are nothing short of propaganda, it's a character assassination and the media is the weapon of choice.

      In the UK, how it works is that the story is the story. Whether he has actually been cheating, eaten someone's hamster or whatever is barely relevant. It's a battle of PR clout.

      These stories have very common themes: the male is some kind of famous, the girl is some desperate wannabe famous and is represented by Max Clifford [wikipedia.org]. If the male is at the peak of his celebrity, it's a fair bet that he did not pay his protection money, er I mean is not employing Max Clifford and a PR firm is trying to snag him with a grappling hook in order to drag up their "victim" into the spotlight for fame and/or interview fees.

      On the other hand, if the male is in danger of dropping off the radar, it's a fair bet that both he and the "victim" are employed by the same publicist and the whole thing is a ruse to get back into the spotlight. Like when "Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster" (see that wiki link [wikipedia.org]).

      (There are of course stories about females but the story is more varied.)

      It's all very well to throw up the "free speech" banners, but I'm not convinced it applies when your speech is all about attacking another person for cheap personal gain and the media operates no journalistic controls at all.

      • That's why we have libel laws; and the UK libel laws are even more favourable toward the libeled party than US ones. Preventing people from speaking for fear that they may commit libel is prior restraint, and is generally considered to be bad.

        • by Xest (935314)

          They more favourable in terms of winning, but not in terms of compensation.

          Look at the Max Mosley case, his reward didn't even really cover his legal fees.

          But it's a general problem in the UK, look at the phone hacking scandal similarly, whilst not libel £100,000 compensation is peanuts to the likes of News International. Look at Andrew Crossley and ACS:Law with his mere £1,000 fine.

          In the UK yes we have laws to deal with these problems, but the damages are never high enough to be a

      • by igb (28052)

        These stories have very common themes: the male is some kind of famous, the girl is some desperate wannabe famous and is represented by Max Clifford. If the male is at the peak of his celebrity, it's a fair bet that he did not pay his protection money, er I mean is not employing Max Clifford and a PR firm is trying to snag him with a grappling hook in order to drag up their "victim" into the spotlight for fame and/or interview fees.

        Sorry, I don't buy it. I'm not an "everything must be free, man" extremi

    • I'd agree that a good way to not get in trouble for bad behavior is to not engage in it, whether famous or not.
      However, I don't think it's fair to destroy peoples' lives just because they're rich and/or famous. Don't treat them better because of their status, but don't treat them worse either.

      Even if some people have a low opinion of their sport/music/acting/etc, a lot of them are famous for that. Why not leave it at that?
      (the gossiping is probably more important to some celebrities' fame than others.)

    • Wow, you sound like you're on a one man crusade against "infidelity." Bluenose!

  • First, of course, removing something from the trend list is not censorship. It's a top ten type list, not the content itself.

    Second, there have been complaints about the twitter trend list [wordpress.com] for a long time. The trend list has never seemed to be just a numerical ranking of tweets - I don't regard it as any more reliable than a Slashdot poll. Whatever they are doing here is probably not new.

    I have also heard rumors that the trend list is particularized for the viewer (i.e., we don't all see the same trend list

  • by Flipao (903929) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @10:27AM (#36208372)
    This gag order thing is going to make Ryan Giggs look far worse than whatever it is he's been doing without his wife's knowledge.
  • Someone /. doesn't care about: Free speech trumps privacy
    Someone /. does care about: Privacy trumps free speech [slashdot.org]

  • by IonOtter (629215) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:04AM (#36208656) Homepage

    FTA: However, he (Lord Neuberger) warned that modern technology was "totally out of control" and society should consider other ways to bring Twitter and other websites under control.

    Personally, I think Lord Neuberger and those like him are the ones that need to be brought under control.

    • Usually people who get their panties in such a knot over personal scandals being revealed to the general public have a few skeletons in the closet.

      Who wants to put money on the thought that maybe Lord Neuberger has more than a few "kinks" of his own. I wonder if he likes to dress up like a schoolgirl and get his ass paddled by a dominatrix.

    • FTA: However, he (Lord Neuberger) warned that modern technology was "totally out of control" and society should consider other ways to bring Twitter and other websites under control.

      Firstly, he didn't say that. So, it's already pretty clear that you haven't looked at the context [judiciary.gov.uk]. Lord Judge (the Lord Chief Justice) did say those words, but in the following context:

      ...everybody knows about defamation; some people even know about the Press Complaints Commission; and some people even know that most newspaper editors do not like to go foul of the Press Complaints Commission, notwithstanding some of the articles to the contrary. But they know about defamation; everybody knows that if you get it wrong, the damages will be very substantial. They also know that modern technology is totally out of control. Anybody can put anything on it. I suspect that they
      would pay much more attention to an article in a newspaper or on the media than they would to anything that anybody can put out on modern technology. I think there is a significant difference.

      Basically, what he's saying is that modern technology is out of the control of the law (which, if anything, this mess over injunctions - they're not super-injunctions - has demonstrated). But he's saying that it doesn't really matter! This was at the end of a speech where he was talking about how it was necessary to start us

  • Under what great mystical process can any government claim that an adulterer can not be publicly pointed to as an adulterer? Freedom involves a willingness to allow exposure of the worst parts of all of us. The basic notion of promoting the best of us while limiting the success of the worst of us needs to run its natural course. In the old days a man could challenge another man and the rightness was established by the strongest in lethal combat. The realization that great people and strong muscle

    • by Rennt (582550)
      The government should stay the hell out of it. While they are at it, they should just stay the hell out of marriage. People talk, but the media should only report in the public interest. Thank Christ it's not 1890!
    • by bloodhawk (813939)
      Probably the same mystical process that proclaims a person is INNOCENT until proven guilty.
  • by Pop69 (700500) <billy@CHEETAHbenarty.co.uk minus cat> on Sunday May 22, 2011 @11:53AM (#36209072) Homepage
    If it is him I can say it all I like, I'm in Scotland and the order doesn't apply here.
  • Since when is Slashdot UK based?
    then tell me: WHO ARE THESE FOOTBALLERS????
    (and who did they frell?)

  • ...because neither footballer's name show up in the post.

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them" - Heisenberg

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