'Twitter Messages Not Private' Rules PCC

The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has ruled that information posted on Twitter should be considered public and publishable despite the claim that this information was private and was only meant to be seen by the user's 700 followers.  The decision follows a complaint by a Department of Transport official that the use of her tweets by newspapers constituted an invasion of privacy in what is the regulator's first ruling on the re-publication of information posted on Twitter.  The PCC ruled that the publicly accessible nature of the information was a "key consideration" in its ruling and that the articles did not constitute "an unjustifiable intrusion" into the complainant's privacy despite the individual involved having a clear disclaimer that the views expressed by her on Twitter were personal and not representative of her employer.  This ruling should serve as a reminder to institutions to have clear policies and practices in place for its Twitter users. The guidance should caution staff and others about the public nature of postings and should describe to users what the permissible limits are concerning posting work related information on Twitter. Further details on the BBC website at - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12393893.

Posted on 11/02/2011