When you sign up to use social media, should you also be forced to acknowledge media law and be aware of how public your messages are?

In March this year, my housemate’s cousin, Liam Stacey, 21, from Swansea was sentenced to 56 days in prison for composing racially motivated tweets about Fabrice Muamba.

In April, three men were arrested by North Wales police for allegedly naming a rape victim using social media. The arrests follow comments allegedly made after Wales and Sheffield United striker Ched Evans was jailed for raping a 19-year-old woman near Rhyl.

By May, the total number of people arrested was 16. By law, the victim of a sexual assault is entitled to live long anonymity. But, how many Twitter users are aware of this?

Disregarding the opinion of whether or not these reactions/sentences/arrests are justified, this cannot avoid the debate about whether or not the public should be made aware of the law and how public their tweets are.

It could be argued that by highlighting the severity of these cases it attempts to teach and warn the public about how they should behave in the public realms of the internet.

One thought on “When you sign up to use social media, should you also be forced to acknowledge media law and be aware of how public your messages are?

  1. Interesting post.

    It seems very unfair that the general public are held to the same standards as publishers. Publishers and journalists have access to legal advice; the general public having a debate on Twitter or Facebook, do not have the luxury of the same advice.

    So are more and more young people going to be hauled through the courts and thrown into prison for their written words?

    I still don’t believe that Liam Stacey was acting maliciously. I think it was a drunken prank; showing off; trying to get a reaction.
    A wise judge would have made allowances for his age and immaturity and given him another chance. Like the wise judge in the Joshua Cryer case.
    It’s a pity Liam Stacey didn’t come before him.

    We all deserve another chance.

    I hope Liam Stacey is able to get his life back on track, and his university should definitely allow him back to continue his studies.
    Good luck Liam!

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