U.K. Tweets Can Appear in the Press

The Story

Sarah Baskerville, a U.K. Department of Transport government worker, tweeted about being hungover at work (among other issues).  Although intended only for her 700 followers, newspapers published the story.  One newspaper published Baskerville's tweets under the headline, "Oh please stop this twit from tweeting, someone."  Baskerville claimed invasion of privacy, but the Press Complaints Commission ruled it was not.  According to the Commission, tweets are public because followers can retweet them to anyone.   

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Discussion Starters

  • What is your reaction to the Commission's decision?  Do you agree with the decision?  Why or why not?
  • What have you tweeted or posted on Facebook that may embarrass you?  If anything you post could be considered public -- and publishable in newspapers -- would you adjust your online content? 

Assignment Ideas

  • In pairs, search online for comments by or about the other student.  If you were a recruiter, what content could be considered questionable?  Give the other student feedback about what he or she might consider changing.
  • On Twitter, search for tweets that may embarrass people. Find a tweet that you know the writer would not like to appear in the newspaper.  Write an email to the tweeter to explain why he or she may want to remove the tweet.