Monday, 30 April 2012

Twitter cannot be allowed to operate outside the law


The Ryan Giggs case shows social media sites need to grow up and ensure content adheres to the same rules as everyone else.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have rapidly become a mainstream medium. The spanner in the works of their incredible rise is now the landmark case of Ryan Giggs suing Twitter for breach of an injunction. This issue has nothing to do with whether or not public figures should be able to gag the media through injunctions and superinjunctions – whether 75,000 Twitter users, as the Lib Dem MP John Hemming used parliamentary privilege to point out, should be allowed to gossip about a footballer or not is irrelevant.

It’s wholly to do with whether social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter – massive revenue earning organisations – should operate outside the law that affects everybody else. In their defence, they will argue that they are merely providing a platform or a blank sheet of paper for users.
For a long time, the left wing has tried to uphold a parallel faith in the right to freedom of speech and the right to privacy – a contradiction that is now under more strain than ever.

Social networks can’t have it both ways. Unless we decide to become an anarchistic society, Facebook and Twitter must be reeled in.