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Users of popular social media sites such as Twitter have been told to monitor material they post online, as a recent Press Complaints Commission (PCC) ruling found that Twitter messages are no longer private.

The ruling follows the case of one Department of Transport worker whose messages were republished in an article by the Daily Mail, despite the worker thinking they were meant for her Twitter followers and her followers alone.

The PCC ruled that because the material published related to the woman’s professional life there was a justification for its publication and the article did not invade her privacy.

The Daily Mail argued that as she had published the comments herself and made them available for anyone to read, there was no unjust invasion of privacy.

The PCC agreed with the Daily Mail that the employee could not expect public tweets to be treated as private information or their dissemination to be restricted to her own followers.

“There was no dispute that the material posted by the complainant was open to public view, and could be accessed by anyone who wished to read it,” said the ruling. “Although there were 700 actual subscribers to the complainant’s account, the potential audience was much greater.”

“This was particularly the case as any message could be ‘re-tweeted’ (the process by which Twitter users can repeat a another user’s messages) without the complainant’s consent, or control, to a larger subscription list.”

Following the ruling, Twitter users have been warned to carefully monitor the material they post online from now on. Because if you’re not, you never know who might be…

Written by Andrew Hodges

February 16, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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