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Ignorance of the law is not a defence.

The message is clear: if you should not say something in a national newspaper or on the sofa of a news show, you should not say it on Twitter. The public cannot treat their posts on Twitter and Facebook as they would a casual chat to a couple of friends in the pub.

I couldn't agree more strongly... Facts need to be first qualified before publishing

But are there ramifications on #FreeSpeech ?
Bodhipaksa Dharmacari's profile photoTim Capper's profile photoLee Smallwood's profile photoLyndon NA's profile photo
Tough nut...

For starters, you have Opinion and Statement.
Then you have Conversation and Publishing.
The definitions and the lines need to be abundantly clear.

I'm not keen on all internet "text" being viewed as publishing.
If that is route taken, then "social" is a dead duck, as freedom of speech, self expression and conversation is far to dangerous to conduct.
+Lee Smallwood Wow, such a tricky system you blokes have.  We don't consider social media the same as traditional media unless perhaps a reasonable person could conclude that the acting entity is a media outlet of some sort, i.e. if ABC News or one of their journalists Tweeted something libelous.  Rather, our assumption is that barring it being deliberately presented as legitimate media, what you post on a social network is generally not going to be considered a statement subject to libel laws.  You can't just say anything you want, but I'd be perfectly free, for example, to suggest that Joe Biden runs a Dickensian child labor workforce on Newt Gingrich's secret moonbase without having to prove my statement.  Social media is generally assumed to be personal activity, not professional publication, and thus anyone taking it seriously without verifying it is, well, as you might say, a total wanker.
In France, if your statement is accessible publicly, then it's a public statement. Facebook, Twitter or otherwise. Which means that your assertions could be challenged with a defamation trial, +Eli Fennell.
+Cédric Lombion - does it make a difference on phrasing?
I know it's a fine line - but it is a distinction.

Personally, opinion, and the right to express it - should not be impinged upon.  If someone wants to think 'somthing' about something/someone, they should also be permitted to say what they think - without legal ramifications.
(Obviously they should be doing due diligence to ensure it is their opinion, and not presenting it as fact/as a statement)
Indeed it has to be a statement. But being cautious about defamation is not only a journalist issue. If I take a megaphone in front of an audience and shouts that X is a smuggler, I made a deliberate public statement to an audience. So X can sue me for defamation. 

If I say the same thing in a private facebook post/group or a private tweet, or on my sofa in my house, no one can attack me for doing so. 

The new paradigm is that, when one writes a public post on any social media platform, one becomes a publisher. People have to take notice, and act accordingly. It may sound abusive because many people are still illiterate when it comes to social media, but it will make sense in 1-2 generations. The power of communication and diffusion which came with the social web comes with responsibilities as well.
Ah, you see, I think that is part of the problem.

"... If I say the same thing in a private facebook post/group or a private tweet, or on my sofa in my house, no one can attack me for doing so. ..."

Regardless of audience - a statement is a statement.
If I say  "X is a smuggler"  - and it is untrue, it is defamation.
Whether I say it to a friend at the pub, in a private email, in a members only area, publicly shout it out in the street, post it publicly on a forum etc. - it should make no difference.
Defamation is defamation.

Where as stating an opinion or expressing a belief should be the opposite - no matter where nor how, so long as it is clearly an opinion, it should be "safe".

Then of course we have the grey no-mans-land ... when someone repeatedly, publicly expresses their view with the intent to defame without being "legally accountable" ... but that's a matter for the courts :D
+Eli Fennell European law is really complex and the whole social media 'publishing/posting/commenting/passing remark' (delete as perceived) is becoming inherently a matter for courts to decide - if they were defamatory or not...

Accountability is the new buzz word over here - i.e. who started it, who helped spread it and who else may have seen it... where the amount of damages can be linear to the amount of followers a user profile has...
So are we really are moving into a #FreeSpeechLESS  society? 

And would you think twice about posting before checking?
No, just delete before you get caught :)
Deletion may not be a viable option.
Logs are kept, there are various crawlers, people with C&P, social shares ... it's a risk.

And yes, the rate things are going, fear and bullying will kill freespeech.
I don't think we are moving into a Free Speech less society.

We have always had free speech, just within Liable laws.

Liable laws are there to protect people.

Liable does not end free speech.

If you have the proof, write it .... then you are safe !

End Of !
fair comment +Tim Capper ... just that sometimes opinions appear to be crossing grey lines...

As +Eli Fennell said above, it's totally classed differently ove in the US 
Deletion, as there have been numerous cases mentioned online, doesn't guarantee it won't have been seen - as people are very quick to take a screen grab and post - 

'We' have become very savvy now - knowing that things can be removed or ordered to be removed by the original poster - but for those people that take screen grabs of the offending posts and publish them... the implications are huge. Are they reporting what the offending piece was - thereby informing the public what the fuss was all about OR are they incriminating themselves in a defamatory action?
Liable Laws are more favourable in the US against the "liabled" party.

So they have a much fairer crack against slander.

In the UK the Libled person has to prove what has been written is incorrect.

Regardless of which country favours whom. The moral is this.....   If it is true and you have proof, then write away because you have protection under the Law.

I think its good, you should be accountable for what you write
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