Social Media Matters: U.K. going after Internet trolls

Social Media MattersSocial Media Matters
By Brian Cormier
Moncton Times & Transcript
Friday, June 22, 2012
Metro section

U.K. going after Internet trolls

Earlier this month, the British government introduced legislation called the Defamation Bill.

According to a June 12 Reuters report, “Website operators may soon be forced under planned new British laws to reveal the identity of those who post defamatory comments on their forums, a move that aims to protect victims by speeding up what is often a lengthy and expensive legal process.”

Kenneth Clarke
Kenneth Clarke

According to British Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, “The government wants a libel regime for the Internet that makes it possible for people to protect their reputations effectively but also ensures that information online can’t be easily censored by casual threats of litigation against website operators.”

The article went on to explain that, while British defamation laws are considered to be very strong with the onus of proof being on the defendant, obtaining a judgment that would force an apology, removal of the comments and/or compensation) is basically something only those who have sufficient financial resources can achieve.

The new law proposes that Internet providers act as intermediaries in order to attempt to resolve the issue between those who posted the questionable content and those who feel wronged. According to the Reuters article, if attempts at a solution failed, the Internet provider “would be required to hand over the subscriber’s contact details so the complainant could pursue legal action against the author. The website itself would be protected against any action as long as it complied with these rules.”

Union JackThe legislation is being proposed due to complaints from businesses and individuals in the U.K. who are fed up with online trolls who post and circulate lies and rumours about them online.

This is an excellent initiative by the U.K. government. While still protecting freedom of speech, it also ensures that online trolls don’t redefine “freedom of speech” into “freedom to lie.” Unfortunately, there is a very strong online subculture that believes that the freedom to spread lies should also exist.

U.K. bans Nike Twitter ad campaign

NikeThe U.K. Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has clamped down on advertising campaign run by sports giant Nike.

The campaign saw Nike-sponsored athletes posting Nike-related tweets. Unfortunately, the athletes did not make it clear that the tweets were a form of sponsored advertising for Nike. According to a BBC News Technology report posted June 20, Manchester United soccer player Wayne Rooney posted a tweet that read, “My resolution – to start the year as a champion, and finish it as a champion…#makeitcount gonike.me/makeitcount.” Soccer player Jack Wilshere posted something similar while promoting Nike’s Make It Count campaign.

The ASA took issue with the tweets because the posters did not make the tweets “identifiable as marketing communications” and suggested that future posts include the hashtag #ad to make them more easily identifiable as spon­sored tweets.

This week’s featured YouTube channels

Every week, I feature three YouTube channels for you to check out. Have a favourite channel? Let me know about it and I may feature it here! Statistics are current to June 19.

Valentina Lisitsa
Valentina Lisitsa

1) Valentina Lisitsa (54,363 subscribers): Valentina Lisitsa is considered the Justin Bieber of the classical piano world because she was discovered after posting videos of herself playing the piano on YouTube. (Bieber was also discovered on YouTube.) Born in the Ukraine, Lisitsa became so popular that she performed in front of an audience of 2,500 at London’s Royal Albert Hall on June 19. Her nearly 200 videos have about 45 million views. (Most popular video: Beethoven ‘Moonlight’ Sonata op 27 # 2 Mov 3 Valentina Lisitsa – 3,103,677 views.)

2) WWE’s Official YouTube Destination (542,091 subscribers): This is the very popular YouTube channel of the WWE, short for World Wrestling Entertaining (formerly World Wrestling Federation). This channel has views galore with its videos having been seen about 320 million times. If you’re a fan of professional wrestling, this is the place for you! Playlists include WrestleMania XXVIII, Entrance Videos, Must-See Videos, WWE Classics, Outside the Ring and Backstage Fallout. (Featured video: Buh-bye Big Johnny – ‘Backstage Fallout’ Raw – June 18, 2012 – 1,833 views.) (No list available of most-watched videos.)

Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher

3) Thrash Lab (3,496 subscribers): Thrash Lab is owned by actor Ashton Kutcher, although he won’t appear in much content, according to an article about the channel published June 19 in AdAgeDigital. According to the article, the channel is growing its catalogue of original online content. ‘The first three series are ‘Subculture Club,’ a documentary-style show that looks at subcultures around the country, such as the ‘Real Rydaz’ bicycle club from South Central Los Angeles.’ Despite being relatively new, the channel already has more than 750,000 total views for its 25 videos. (Most popular video: Life Off The Grid In Slab City | Subculture Club – 273,866 views.) (Note: Most Popular Video has been updated since column appeared in the Times & Transcript.)

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