31st Jul 2012 04:51pm
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Yesterday the Twittersphere was booming with the usual Olympic tweets along with various messages of support for, in particular, Tom Daley. Tom and his diving partner Pete Waterfield performed their synchronised dives, but sadly failed to clinch a medal (Good on them for trying! Excellent work from both).

Then came one of the few select people on Twitter who are just small-minded simpletons who crave attention and want to be "Twitter Famous" because they've got oh-so many thousands of followers (remember this is the online world - not the real world [sad!]) ... anyways, this low-life 17 year old, Reece (from Weymouth) who goes by the Twitter username of Rileyy_69 decided to take a bash at Tom Daley's performance by tweeting "you let your dad down i hope you know that" - which Tom saw and retweeted it quoting "After giving it my all...you get idiot's sending me this...".

Rileyy_69 and Tom Daley

Now because Tom has had a heavy media following in the run up to and during the Olympics, it's no surprise that the media caught hold of this and it was then being reported through various news agencies, then the Twittersphere exploded and "Rileyy_69" eventually started receiving a massive amount of hate mail from everyone. This didn't help the teen though as he carried on - with mixed tweets, some apologising, then others delivering threats. Now the first original tweet he sent (as far as I know) didn't break any laws and was just stupidly hurtful, however when the threatening tweets started sparking up that's where it crossed the line and became a breach of the law under the Malicious Communications Act 1998 / Telecommunications Act 1984.

Rileyy_69

Other than making news websites around the country - which he did try to threaten Sky News with a lawsuit too (lol!), he also made the front page of a few newspapers too and it has been reported this morning that "a 17 year old male has been arrested" (presumably him).

So why am I on the fence with this then?

Well we all remember a few months ago there was that bloke who tweeted saying he was going to blow up Robin Hood airport, well he got arrested for that too and even though he ment it as a joke, it was still, sadly, a breach of the law.

Now with me, I found the airport blokes tweet rather funny and did see it as a joke and he shouldn't have had been arrested for it, however I was mortified with what was tweeted to Tom Daley as it wasn't just a dig at him, but also a dig at his late-Father too who helped him progress into the world's most famous diver we know of, and I believe this Reece should be imprisoned.

So at the moment I'm on the fence with all the arresting because of Tweets and what can and can't be said. I mean we all do it time to time... we'll tweet or post on our Facebook status a joke or mad one-liner that's offensive/racist/homophobic in some way shape or form.

erm... I think I've now lost my train of thought, but you kind of get the idea.

Would really like to know your thoughts on this situation. Comment below. :)

 

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Comments

1st Aug 2012 14:41

"...and I believe this Reece should be imprisoned"

Imprisonment is such a blunt and ineffective instrument. What this guy has demonstrated is not that he's a danger to others and needs to be safely separated from society; he's shown that he can't self-censor and therefore should be (temporarily) banned from Twitter and possibly other online forums.

Putting people in prison is almost never the right answer, even if it's the only (or most convenient) answer currently available under the law.
By David


1st Aug 2012 23:57

While the 'twitter joke' and the @Rileyy_69 incidents, on the face of it, seem similar there are significant differences. As the High Court recently decided, there was no credibility in the 'twitter joke' threat to blow Robin Hood Airport "sky high". A cursory look at his twitter feed should have shown this was a one off tweet by a frustrated man. @Rileyy_69's twitter feed, however, is littered with abusive messages and threats against those who have had the misfortune to cross his path or otherwise come to his attention. There is even a YouTube video of him ranting and threatening violence against another of the 'twitter famous'. It was surely only a matter of time before his online activities came to the attention of the police.

Writing this 24 hours after the event, we now know that @Rileyy_69 received a warning from the police (I don't think it was a formal caution). This was probably the best outcome and, hopefully, will change his behaviour (although the police are still investigating other tweets). Its a pity the Police didn't apply the same common sense to the 'twitter joke'. Unfortunately that was at a different time, with a government that was obsessed about eliminating any potential risk.
By Mark


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