Twitter Arrests: Watch Your Racist Tweets

Some people just never learn.  By now everyone knows that social media is a good way to get yourself into embarrassing situations and even legal troubles.  Yet people continue to display the most intimate details of their lives and memorialize them forever with no regard to the consequences.  You are what you tweet people.  Now your tweets can get you arrested if they are racial in nature.  One slur and you are in the slammer.  Do you want to know how to get twitter followers fast? Just retweet a racial tweet.

Two teens were arrested in Britain six days ago for making racial slurs on Twitter.  They had some undesirable colorful words exchanged and in case anyone has yet to figure it out, racial slurs are not considered free speech.  It is not clear if this case will go any further, but naturally Twitter closed the offenders account once it was reported.

Did this really result in arrests?  Yes two police officers arrested two teens in Northumbria for “suspicion of malicious communication.”  Since they are teenagers, their names have not been disclosed.  If they had been a bit older, the lynch mob of the internet would have destroyed their lives by now. Racist words are not included under free speech? No. Not in Britain obviously.  Apparently, words of this nature are “hate speech” and are considered a crime.

The racial tweet was directed at a Newcastle United football player after he uploaded a pic of his black shoes.  The offender tweeted “Your hand is nearly the same colour #n****r.”   Not cool, however who knew such a tweet could get you arrested?  The football player retweeted the message and apparently was able to get twitter followers fast to report the incident.  As well, the football player’s school administration reported the incident to the police which resulted in an arrest.

The involved teens clearly exhibited hate and racist speech and had the nerve to broadcast it to the whole world.  Hate speech is one of those gray areas in the law and making it out as an offense varies in every jurisdiction in America, and definitely in other countries.  The same applies to racial slurs. Many racial words are used as slang that can be found all over Twitter. However, they must be within the proper context which has to be clear as day, if there are such things in racism. I don’t think there is, since it is in the Twitter ToS (Terms of Service) that tweets containing racist sentiments must have their account closed if reported.

So better, watch what you tweet!  People get into trouble all the time with the use of their innocent words.  Those 140 characters are very powerful and can cost you a job, a relationship, and can even get you arrested.  It is easy just to spot off something and forget about it, but always remember, once it is on the internet it can never be truly removed even when it is deleted.

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