The Right to Twitter your mind

Technological progress has way of quickly influencing how we interact with one another as a society; the law tends to take a long time to catch up to these changes. There is no surprise then that often there is no clear cut ruling on cases involving new technology, particularly the emerging forms of social networking.

An example of such (found here) illustrates an emerging problem in our current world of social networking, what are we allowed to say now that we can communicate on a large scale instantly? In the linked story a British national, Paul J. Chambers was arrested in England after posting on twitter that he would blow up the airport. The tweet was tweeted after Mr. Chambers grew frustrated with delays at the airport. Convicted of sending a “menacing message” and subsequently losing his job, Chambers has become a perfect example of how we should all be careful of what we put out there.

Although this case happened in England and not in America, which has more freedom of speech, the risk of something being tweeted or posted on facebook getting us in trouble still exists. We have all heard stories of people losing their jobs over ill advised messages about their workplace or bosses.

When does a joke become a threat? How will law enforcement know the difference? There doesn’t appear to be any clear cut answer, and the legal system is going to take a while to catch up. We will have to moderate ourselves as social media users, taking consideration to what we write and how it will be perceived. There are no laws or code of conduct in place for social media, so it up to each of us to monitor ourselves.

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