Advice from the Attorney General on twitter – a helpful reminder to think before you tweet!

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Today I was invited to comment on Premier Radio’s news hour on the story that the Attorney General will now be issuing advice publicly (on the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) section of the gov.uk website and also through the AGO’s twitter feed, @AGO_UK) on contempt of court relating to the use of social media around high profile court cases.

Listen to part of my interview here:

This tells us a few things:

We are all publishers now

Remember that anything you write online could be used in a court of law. Be aware that if you cannot prove the truth of what you are tweeting you could be held in contempt of court. I did a bit of research and there is a useful list of recent twitter cases on the BBC website here, this mentions that the law applies to retweets as well. The Guardian has also created this helpful guide to not getting into trouble through Twitter.

We’ll see more of these announcements as the Law catches up

The Attorney General’s Twitter account tweeted today:

I think there will be more and more need to update our laws with regard to the rapid changes we have seen in technology in the last 5 years or so. Expect more of these announcements.

Twitter is becoming a core tool – for government as well as the public

I thought it was a really nice touch that the Attorney General’s office will use Twitter to publish these advisories (legal notices). This was a good way of highlighting that it is the appropriate use of twitter that is of concern, not the platform itself.

This is all a timely reminder that we should think before we tweet. It makes me think of Benjamin Ellis’ brilliant mnemonic:

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