There is a very large Tweeting community and it like every other community, it contains the mad and the bad, along with the great and the good. People tweet some rather wonderful comments, along with some real TRASH. But it strikes me that the decision of Dorset Police to arrest a 17 yr old boy who sent horrible tweets to UK Olympic diver Tom Daley is deeply flawed. At the time, I condemned the guy concerned for his cruel and stupid tweets but the Police took it to a whole new level and that worries me as a free speech issue. Here’s a good commentary on the same topic;
It is good to see that Dorset Police have come in for a lot of flak for their harebrained decision to arrest the 17-year-old who sent horrible tweets to Tom Daley. It is not only that police must surely have better things to do than chase down teens tapping dumb things on their computer keyboards. More importantly, even if all the crime in Britain was wiped out and the Old Bill found themselves at a loose end, they would still have no business knocking on a tweeter’s door and interfering in the realm of speech, thoughts and words. It is occasionally the job of the state to reprimand our behaviour; it should never be its job to police our expression. And yes, even though there was a “death threat” involved in the anti-Daley tweeting, this was still a speech issue rather than a physical-threat issue – no reasonable person could possibly believe that this tweeter’s “threat” was a real one, when it was simply the crescendo to his infantile, bedroom-based sounding off.
The Police should keep their snouts OUT of social networking. The Twitterati had already damned and mocked the foolish boy. His vicious comments do not warrant repetition here but I think he has a right to say whatever he wants. There is a BLOCK button on Twitter where you just vanquish whoevere annoys you. I use it frequently! Tom Daley can use it too. We must allow people the right to make utter fools of themselves and Devon Police surely have more pressing priorities than this sort of stunt.