Can Your Facebook Comments and Tweets Get You in Trouble?
I’m sure most people think they wouldn’t be stupid enough to Tweet or post something on Facebook that might lead them to be charged or forced to resign. However, after reading about some cases I realised it’s perhaps not that idiotic a thought, and I thought they would be interesting to share. Be careful what you type!
The (Apparent) Bomb Threat Tweet
The tweet: “Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”
In May 2010 Paul Chambers was found guilty of sending a “menacing electronic communication”. He sent his tweet after Robin Hood Airport was closed after heavy snow and threatened his travel plans. An off-duty airport security manager saw the tweet five days later, and while he decided it wasn’t credible, felt duty bound to pass it on to airport police. Eventually South Yorkshire Police arrested him. Even though officers concluded it was a foolish joke they still referred it to the Crown Prosecution Service who charged him. In the end the High Court quashed the crown court conviction where the judge had (ridiculously) said the tweet was “clearly menacing”.
The Coffee-Throwing Facebook Comment
The comment: “I could not work knowing the daughter of my enemy was on the plane…I called my personal adviser asking if it would be all right to throw coffee at Paetongtarn,but was told that this could breach Hong Kong’s laws.”
In December 2012 a flight attendant left her job with Cathay Pacific after saying on Facebook that she wanted to throw coffee over ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s daughter, who she called “a daughter of the enemy”. Whether she was sacked or resigned is unclear.
The ‘Stupid’ Facebook Comment
The comment: that there should be a law allowing people to be jailed for being “stupid”.
In 2009 a Montana police officer, Cody Anderson, resigned after he wrote on his Facebook page that there should be a law allowing police to take people to jail for being “stupid”. He’s not the only one.
Food for thought. I think I’ll double check my Facebook statuses and Tweets twice from now on.