Twitter is not just a closed coffee shop among friends. It goes out to hundreds of thousands of people and you must take responsibility for it. It is not a place where you can gossip and say things with impunity, and we are about to demonstrate that.
Andrew Reid, lawyer for Former Tory Party treasurer Alistair McAlpine, to the Daily Mirror. Tweet revenge: Tory to sue 10,000 Twitter users who branded him a paedo.
The News: Earlier this month the BBC’s Newsnight aired a program about an unresolved sex abuse scandal that took place in UK children’s homes in the 1970s and 1980s. In it, Newsnight linked an unnamed Conservative Party member to the crimes but, oddly, never actually named him.
Soon, however, Twitter users were identifying Alistair McAlpine as the unnamed politician. Which he isn’t, or wasn’t, as the case may be.
In the aftermath, the BBC’s director general George Entwistle resigned and two BBC news executives, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell have “stepped aside.”
Now, McAlpine intends to sue those who tweeted and/or retweeted the allegations. The Daily Mirror reports that 10,000 people have been identified.