Evidence that Twitter just gets you in trouble…

twitter-fight

In examining the way technology and digital media are governed legally and ethically, rather than focusing on a boring topic such as intellectual property, I decided to go the Donald Trump route (that would be shock and lewdness) and discuss things like indecency and twitter fights.

My Internet snapshot focused on a woman who was “flashed” via airdrive on a train by a man’s random genital photo. I imagine that was both scary and repulsive to her. She of course, contacted the police. As the perpetrator was able to keep himself anonymous, they didn’t and couldn’t do much to help her. As I read this article, I thought about all the times I had been “flashed” on my old Twitter account by random DMs pointing me to links or photos of pornography and other unasked for indecent proposals. Did I have a right to file suit against some one? And if so, who? The perpetrators more than covered their tracks. Should I sue Twitter? Who do I hold responsible for this violation?
It seems a few people have asked this question when something happens on Twitter that they don’t quite like. One mother had a child whose classmates utilized twitter to send out her naked photos. Rather than just suing the parents of the clearly at fault classmates, she decided to go for the bigger fish as well: The school district and Twitter. As the photo had been retweeted many times, she felt Twitter was liable. It’s definitely the more lucrative option of who to go after.
But Twitter has gotten other people in trouble as well. Things like defamation of character and violating privacy are now issues one can run into on Twitter. George Zimmerman’s parents sued Roseanne bar for tweeting to her followers their address. Actor James Woods is suing an anonymous twitter user for $10 million for calling him a cocaine addict. But are these things worth suing for? What about our First Amendment rights? What is the line in the public domain of the internet?
And apparently, now people are even becoming protective of the online content they tweet. One twitter user is suing Conan O’Brian for stealing his tweets and using them as jokes. Only problem is: Tweets aren’t copyrighted and are sent out into the public domain. Right?

When we think about how technology is impacting our laws, there are probably more questions than answers. Twitter alone is a minefield of legal implications that have not yet been addressed. The amount of celebrity feuds that happen on Twitter are a reason to steer clear! The legal system hasn’t caught up with the speed of technology, that’s for sure. The lines are getting muddy and I’m not sure anybody really knows how to handle the ocean of implications that arise from digital media’s rapid technological development.

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