A UK judge in the family division of the high court last week handed down an injunction, explicitly banning the publication of protected information on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It all came about when several tweets were sent that purportedly revealed the identities of celebrities involved in “superinjunctions.” The judge’s order takes the existing one of preventing the identification of children and others involved in legal actions one step further by singling out social media sites.
World renowned for its pesky paparazzi and over-the-top tabloids, it’s no surprise that the UK courts would be proactive in limiting the potential effects of a feeding frenzy amongst the British tabloids and consumers in their search for the latest gossip. Twitter’s UK traffic spiked to its highest levels ever on May 9th when folks were poking around to see which celebrities were involved. Similar events happened on the other side of the pond. Just look at Charlie Sheen, who went from zero to one million Twitter followers in one day, following his much-publicized tirades. #Winning. As I’m sure he’d want me to say. So, it just goes to show that even judges, who often have potentially old-school stodgy images, are keenly aware of the influence of social media and the speed at which information can travel.
Privacy is becoming a misnomer, too, as rumors, allegations, and personal information traverse the social media channels at lightning speed. Sure, courts can issue injunctions and superinjunctions to their hearts’ content, but at the end of the day, technology will play a role in managing (and enforcing) these legal orders. In other words, one can think of technology as a “friend of the court.”
Take for instance, Actiance Socialite. It’s a platform that enables organizations to monitor and manage access to sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as the content that gets posted there. With Socialite, companies stand a better chance of remaining compliant with legal orders and makes it that much tougher for gossip-mongers to satiate their appetites.
Now, I thought I heard yesterday that Kate’s expecting quadruplets…