Twitter is a popular social networking site that allows people to send, receive and read short 140-character messages that are commonly known as tweets. Not only can users post tweets they can also share, commonly known as retweet, other people’s posts. Twitter has a worldwide reach and has approximately 317 million users.
While Twitter is a great way for users to post interesting things in their life, it can also be used to injure people. You would be surprised how much damage a 140 character post can cause a person if it is shared by multiple people, or even if it is shared with one influential user such as a celebrity.
Many people wonder if they are able to sue someone who posts something false, slanderous or defamatory on Twitter. While Americans do have freedom of speech, it is not an unlimited right that allows you to say whatever you want about another person.
A famous example that demonstrates your ability to sue someone for what they post on Twitter involves the music icon, Courtney Love. In January of 2014, The California Court of Appeals found that Ms. Love was not liable for defaming her former lawyer, Rhonda Holmes.
The case came to the court because Ms. Love had posted on the popular social media site that she was “[omitted] devastated when Rhonda J. Holmes, Esquire, of San Diego was bought off.” Ms. Love removed the post shortly after it was posted, and claimed that she never intended for it to be posted to Twitter, but that she meant for it to be a direct message. Her former attorney Ms. Holmes, claimed that she suffered damages as a result of the post.
However, the Court of Appeals and a jury did not agree with her claim and found that Courtney Love was not liable for defaming Ms. Holmes.
Twitter is a highly developed and regulated social media platform. In addition to having a full staff devoted to ensuring its users have the best possible experience, the popular platform also has a sophisticated set of policies that users agree to follow when they join the site.
Specifically, Twitter has a section in its rule sections titled Abusive Behavior that outlines behavior that Twitter will not tolerate. Their website states:
“We believe in freedom of expression and in speaking truth to power, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up. In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs, we do not tolerate behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.”
If a Twitter user posts any tweet that falls into one of the above categories they can be reported and Twitter has the right to remove the post and possibly the user.
As noted above, Twitter is a social media platform that is designed to connect the world. In order to achieve their goals and to keep its user’s happy Twitter has a sophisticated system designed to filter out tweets, which violate their policies. In addition, Twitter users can report posts that they feel violate the rules of Twitter. According to Twitter user information, if you want to report a Tweet you should follow the following steps:
Once you have reported the tweet, Twitter will ask you to provide more information about the particular tweet you are reporting. Because twitter has a full staff of trained employees, they will contact you about additional steps you can take.
However, while Twitter staff may make some recommendations about what to do next if you feel that you have been defamed, you should consider consulting with an experienced attorney who knows the defamation law in your state.
If you are seeking options to minimize the damage that can potentially be caused by false and defamatory posts, the attorneys of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA may be able to work with you. To schedule a free and confidential consultation where you can explore your legal options with a lawyer call us at 216-373-7706 or contact us online.