Thursday, November 15, 2012


(First, let me point out that this is not really political, so technically I'm not already breaking my psuedo-resolution to kinda-sorta avoid political postings on this blog for a while.  Technically. (g) Or maybe I'm just fooling myself!)

In UK, Twitter, Facebook rants land some in jail.

(Ok, so it's not new news, since some of the examples are years old, but...)

I don't respect the content of the messages that are putting these people in hot water-- and even joking about bombing an airport, these days, is possibly criminally stupid-- but this is a fine example of the Slippery Slope.

The thing that occurs to me (and that I didn't see mentioned in the article in my brief scan) is that people on Twitter and Facebook only see the comments of people they choose to follow*.  So... if people see something they don't like, why can't they just unfollow/unfriend them?!  (Everyone's done it, whether because someone tweets too much or has "said" one thing too many that has grated on your nerves.)

I guess my (fuzzy, unclear) point here is that these people's outrageous remarks are probably just attempts to get attention.  You want to monitor their further online interactions to make sure there's no legitimate reason to suspect that it's leading up to some criminal/terrorist action?  Fine and good.  But what harm are they doing, really?  Who are we protecting by taking these "dangerous criminals" off the Internet?  Is there room in the UK's jails for every idiot who says something stupid online?  Does anyone really believe they are threats, or is it more a matter of preventing offensive commentary?  If the average person sees the garbage they post/tweet and duly clicks "unfollow", doesn't the situation take care of itself?  Do TPTB in the UK not trust people to make their own judgement calls? 

* Well, I'm assuming about Facebook, since I don't actually use it.  And for Twitter, if you search a subject or click a trending topic, you can see tweets from anyone and everyone-- but you have to make the decision to do so, and when you do, you're almost guaranteed to see something that offends or annoys you.  Clicker beware!