Twitter has found itself at the center of a legal battle in the U.K. this weekend after one Twitter user apparently “outed” celebrities who have legally prevented news outlets from reporting specific rumors and/or stories.
According to the Register, there are around 35 “superinjunctions” in place preventing British news outlets from running particular stories – mostly, it appears, along the tabloid “Celebrity X is having an affair with Celebrity Y!” variety – naming those involved in said stories or even acknowledging the existence of the injunction. And as an ongoing argument about the legality of superinjunctions continues (a parliamentary committee is due to report on the subject this month), one Twitter user apparently decided to name some names - with those named quickly denying everything, of course.
It’s still unclear whether any superinjunction would actually cover social media like Twitter or Facebook, although Twitter, for its part, told reporters, “There are tweets that we do remove, such as illegal tweets and spam. However, we make efforts to keep these exceptions narrow so they may serve to prove a broader and more important rule – we strive not to remove tweets on the basis of their content.” Does a gag order on the press make a tweet on the subject illegal? Considering that we’ve already seen successful lawsuits based upon tweets in U.S. courts, we may be about to find out.
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