Suing Twitter

A footballer in England sued Twitter and “persons unknown” several weeks ago after a super injunction he had obtained in order to prevent media outlets from revealing he had an affair was supposedly breached by users of the social media website. Since, lawyers and public alike have stated that it would be impossible to find Twitter liable for this.

It seems the number one issue with this is jurisdiction; Twitter is a global social media site through which people from across the entire world communicate. As with the other affects of globalisation, the move to a ‘global community’ seems to be halted when confronted with national governments and laws.

Though I also see a problem with Twitter itself; it is a public space, but used for many private reasons. It is as public as talking to a friend on the street is, and it is capable of spreading rumours just as gossip moves about town. Users do not authoritatively publish news and information the same way newspapers or television networks do; they discuss with friends.

MySpace, Facebook, and even online forums have the same problem. Creating relatively private spaces paradoxically in very public spaces is proving to be very difficult, and perhaps the shortcoming of the Internet. Though Facebook and Twitter are obviously successful, their ability to facilitate public bullying and inappropriateness has left them open to attack from the mass media and brought our idealistic vision of the perfect global public sphere back to earth. Everything published on the web is permanent; read or recorded somewhere. Not even our bank details are safe.


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