by Mary C Long
A 131-character tweet just cost Lalit Modi £1.5 million in court costs – and damages to boot.
What happened? Another case of not thinking things through before you tweet, it seems.
New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns played cricket for 20 years. He was dismissed from his team in 2008 “for failing to declare an ankle injury he aggravated while completing a charity walk.” Modi, referred to as “one of the most powerful men in cricket,” sent a tweet suggesting the international cricket champion was dismissed from his team for corruption. Cairns sued Modi and prevailed in an eight-day libel trial.
Do you think twice and consider possible legal ramifications before you tweet something that could be considered controversial? If not, you’re in good company, most users don’t either – but they should. Unlike the social activist in Malaysia who got off with tweeting an apology 100 times, being found guilty of libel is serious business.
With the number of online defamation cases continuing to rise, you really need to watch what you say on social networks, particularly Twitter. Even when you feel that your words are justified, keep in mind the story of Ian Puddick, who was prosecuted for sharing details of his wife’s affair with her millionaire boss.
And celebrities need to be even more careful than the rest of us, thanks to Courtney Love. She paid a $430,000 settlement and avoided a court drama, but it highlighted the fact that celebrity influence over Twitter followers amplifies false and damaging comments – something that will likely come back to haunt some outspoken celebrity sooner or later (watch out, Alec Baldwin!).
Do YOU think before you tweet? And have you ever seen a tweet that makes you cringe and wonder what the sender was thinking? I know I have.
This post originally appeared on AdWeek Social Times
IMAGE CREDIT: PAULSNELLING
New Orleans, LA