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Woman Sued For £100,000. Over Libelous Twitter Post

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by The Scarlet Pimp, May 25, 2013.

  1. The Scarlet Pimp

    The Scarlet Pimp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    let this be a real lesson to those who use twitter. guard your own words carefully and be very careful of what you retweet. :eek:

    Sally Bercow's Tweet Is Most Expensive in History, at a Cost of £16,000. a Word

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/471089/20130524/bercow-twitter-libel-mcalpine.htm

    Sally Bercow's Twitter gaffe during last year's pedophile panic has ended up as the most expensive tweet in world history - at £16,000 a word.

    Parliamentary Speaker's wife Bercow fired off a seven-word missive about Lord Alpine when frenzied speculation about an unknown politician accused of pedophilia was at its height.

    She posted a tweet to her 60,000 followers on Twitter which read: "Why is Lord McAlpine trending? Innocent face."

    Today at the High Court, Bercow was hit with a huge bill for her ill-advised Twitter message as judges ruled that it libeled the Tory peer.

    She must pay out up to £10,000 in damages plus the legal fees of McAlpine as well as her own - a total of £100,000.

    Judges ruled that her tweet was innuendo which implied in a "nudge-nudge, wink-wink" fashion that McAlpine sexually abused children.

    But no such charges have ever been faced by McAlpine, a former close aide of the late Margaret Thatcher.

    Bercow quit Twitter in the wake of the storm over her comment.

    The size of the payout has led to fears of a chilling effect on social media, with users scared to voice opinions.

    But Bercow could have faced an even bigger bill. She was saved by an obscure rule which stops claimants from collecting repeated big damages for the same libel. McAlpine had already won £310,000 from the BBC and ITV for similar claims.

    Apologizing for her tweet, Bercow said the experience had been a "nightmare".

    She said: "I did not tweet this with malice, and I did not intend to libel Lord McAlpine. I was being conversational and mischievous, as was so often my style on Twitter.

    "I very much regret my tweet and I promptly apologized publicly and privately to Lord McAlpine for the distress I caused him. I also made two offers of compensation.

    "Lord McAlpine issued proceedings and the last few months have been a nightmare."

    Media law expert Prof David Banks told IBTimes UK that the law was not keeping pace with technology.

    He said: "I do not think you can agree a tweet is the same as a full-page tabloid splash, yet at the moment courts are treating them the same."

    Banks called for a review into how libel and contempt laws apply to social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

    "Every week we are seeing someone getting into trouble for something they do on social media," he said.

    "Some people may say this is a good thing which teaches a lesson in the law but I think it diminishes what people can get out of social media - which are usually positive things. Verdicts like this are likely to make people use it less."

    Lawyer Christopher Hutchings of the Hamlins said: "This is a very significant case as it is the first libel on Twitter to reach the High Court.

    "The immense power of republishing via the retweet button means that very dubious allegations can reach thousands of people," he warned.
     
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  2. srinu0812

    srinu0812 Supreme Member

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    I thought Twitter is a place where we can express ourselves. May be I am wrong!
     
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  3. bmatthews

    bmatthews Regular Member

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    Rule #1: If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything.

    Must be one of the costliest rules to break in the modern age.
     
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  4. The Scarlet Pimp

    The Scarlet Pimp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    this is a very good argument for anonymity...
     
  5. Panther28

    Panther28 Elite Member

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    I remember a few months ago watching her give a soapbox on using twitter. Funny that she became a victim of it ultimately.

    We need to all threaten twitter to leave, so they can protect us from nonsense such as this. Maybe this will be something the next big social media giant fixes.
     
  6. LakeForest

    LakeForest Supreme Member

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    Oh wow. Talk about a blue blood with a supremely guilty conscience, not to mention the expeditious matter taken to make sure any possible prosecution or furthering of this case is not cast in a worse light by the court of popular opinion, which makes me think-- If this case is so delicate as to be stirred by a tweet...lol omg Britain will either showcase it has no equitable rule of law or that a guilty conscience is contagious.

    This infringed on the right to free speech, but I'm not sure Britain exactly listens to its better conscience.

    Whatever the quote is, to paraphrase, "the ones you can't criticize are the ones that rule over you."

    Gosh would have thought the UK isn't democratic?
     
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  7. Duffers5000

    Duffers5000 Elite Member

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    I dont think you can imply somebody is a paedophile in any way shape or form without expecting a backlash.

    Sally Bercow is not some random Twitterer she is the wife of the speaker of the house of commons. She is very much her own woman but she is prominent

    there were thousands of normal joes that tweeted libel but they didnt get taken to court they mostly just apologised

    Anyone interested in the ruling should follow barrister David Allen Green(Jack of kent)
     
  8. Roparadise

    Roparadise BANNED BANNED

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    Why is libel such a big scam in the UK/US? Like people say they have emotional problems over a stupid tweet and want money for it.
     
  9. macdonjo3

    macdonjo3 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Ridiculous.
     
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  10. TheMasterOfMoney

    TheMasterOfMoney Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    For these ones that dont know, she is an important person in the UK. So she must take care of her words or stuff like this happen
     
  11. The Scarlet Pimp

    The Scarlet Pimp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    recall what happened when a paper did a story about the pediatrician?
     
  12. RedStain

    RedStain Regular Member

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    freedom of speech? Naw that's over rated