Tag Archives: social media

#MeToo, naming and shaming: a risky business?

“#MeToo”: Five letters that have been tweeted millions of times in the past month, and demonstrate the enormous power of social media and how it can bring about change for the good.  The feeling of solidarity is a cathartic experience for many who have been the victim of sexual abuse, harassment or other forms of coercive behaviour.  Beyond this, the reach of the hashtag is already challenging outdated social values and societal norms.

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Libel/Defamation: Libel, privacy breaches and harassment on Snapchat

Snapchat is a multimedia messaging mobile application (app) that allows users to send videos and photos to their contacts. The recipient can normally only view an image/video for a limited period of time (perhaps just a few seconds).  This encourages some users to send risqué (sometimes explicit) images/videos to one another. This feature is far from foolproof. A receiving party may take a screenshot of the image or a photo and/or video of the screen with a separate digital camera/phone.

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The rise of fake news

In 2016, 82% of adults in the UK used the internet on a daily basis compared with just 35% in 2006. Smartphones and mobile devices are the most popular tools for adults to access the internet with 71% accessing through smartphones. Using the internet for social networking on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram has continued to grow rapidly over the last decade with 63% of adults using some form of social media every single day in 2016. In November 2016, Samsung produced a study which found that the average person will spend three years of their lives updating their social media accounts and Facebook’s latest statistics confirmed that they have 1.28 billion daily users.

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Metropolitan police launch “Online Hate Crime Hub”

The Metropolitan Police are to set up a two-year pilot scheme involving five officers and a team of volunteers to identify online abuse and support victims.  Based in London, the team will filter and identify online hate crimes (hostile offences aggravated by reason of the victim’s race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity) and allocate cases to the appropriate local force.

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Culture Secretary calls for overhaul of online abuse law

Maria Miller, the Culture Secretary, and Senior Labour MP Yvette Cooper have both called for a review of the law governing online harassment, stalking and abuse to prevent inconsistent enforcement and to encourage those affected to report the crime.

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Select Committee conclude criminal law sufficient for social media offences

The House of Lords Select Committee on Communications has concluded that the criminal law is “generally appropriate” and sufficient for the prosecution of offences committed using social media and no further legislation is required. 

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Law Commission recommends overhaul of contempt laws

The Law Commission is to launch a consultation paper on proposals to reform the Contempt of Court Act 1981 and the common law offence of contempt of court. The Commission believes that changes are required in order for the law to keep up with technological advances and, in particular, the spread of social media. Careless blogging or tweeting can result in juries being discharged and subsequent expensive retrials. One proposal is to pass the cost of retrials on to the responsible party. It is understood that the Commission will also propose a uniform process across all criminal courts.

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