British Politician Fined for Twitter Comment

Paul Lilly

In 2009, the NBA fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $25,000 for criticizing referees via his Twitter account. Since then, comments made via the social networking service have led to a few libel lawsuits. Former Welsh mayor, Colin Elsbury, would have been wise to pay attention, as he's become the first British man fined for a libelous tweet.

According to an AP report , the former mayor tweeted that his challenger Eddie Talbot had been "forcibly removed" from a polling station by police, though that was before he was made aware that it was a case of mistaken identity. To Elsbury's credit, he did try to correct the tweet, but Talbot filed suit anyway.

The judge found Elsbury guilty and fined him £3,000 (around USD$4,830), plus court costs of around £50,000 (around USD$80,520). He was also ordered to issue a public apology on his Twitter account.

Talbot says the case should "act as a warning to people, including politicians, to be extremely careful when using Twitter and other social media such as blogs." Considering the high court costs, we think it should act as motivation to go to law school.

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