British Politician's Twitter Post Results in Libel Fine

Lora Bentley

I mentioned last week that Foursquare's first patent infringement suit is a sign that the location-based social networking tool has come of age. We knew Facebook was around to stay when posts and status updates began to be accepted as evidence in court. As of Friday, Twitter reached a milestone of its own.


According to Engadget, a politician in Britain was fined for libel based on something he wrote in a Twitter post. It's the first time a British court has imposed a Twitter-based libel fine, the story says.


Colin Elsbury was ordered to pay a fine of approximately $4,800 plus costs around $80,000 after the court found that his Twitter post indicating a political opponent had been forcibly removed from a polling place was indeed libelous-particularly because the person who was removed from the polling place was not his opponent.


The fine was imposed despite the fact that Elsbury "quickly and publicly corrected himself" upon realizing the mistake.


Dare I say it again? Please think before you post. Not doing so could be expensive.

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