Tweet Your Way to a Lawsuit – Twitter Freedom of Speech

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thejudge.jpgAmanda Bonnen didn’t mean to tweet her way to anything. In fact, she wasn’t even really a Twitter user, compared to many of us who tweet daily and RT hourly. When she sent the tweet that landed her in a cesspool of litigation, in fact, she had only 20 followers, was following 29 herself, and barely tweeted even once a day.

That didn’t matter to Horizon Realty, however. When Bonnen sent her ill-fated ill-fated tweet to her 20 followers on May 12th, she had no idea that each of those people was worth $2,500 in damages to Horizon. Not long after she’d sent that tweet, she was hit with a $50,000 lawsuit for it.

Given those numbers, I’m potentially worth millions…

Amanda’s tweet in question?

To a friend: “You should just come anyway. Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it’s okay.”

According to the news item in the Chicago Sun-Times, the realty company filed the $50,000 lawsuit for libel and damages at the Cook County Circuit Court. The now-defunct @abonnen user name was listed as an “alias” for Amanda Bonnen in the suit.

The apartment in question, in case you want to avoid it, is in Chicago. I suspect that by now, it’s the focus of a shrine to Bonnen’s potential losses.  Perhaps it should also be a shrine to the new loss of freedom on Twitter that this could mean. Personally if I didn’t want people to know about the alleged issues in the apartment, I would have avoided a public lawsuit that disclosed the exact location of the apartment in question.  All they did is enable millions around the world to become aware of issues with their properties instead of the few people this tenant told.  They should sue themselves for the billions it probably relates to, in regards to the amount of eyes that have now come to see the address.  Sometimes I wonder if people think things through.  Not only will people avoid the building now, but they will avoid this real estate company, based upon their reactions.

Think about that.  If this company wins the lawsuit, how will that affect how you or I tweet?  Will we be as likely to say things openly?  Could this destroy Twitter as we know it?  Something to think about, anyway.

The whole thing  is summed up in Mr. Michael’s sentiment to the Sun-Times:

“We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization.”

Indeed.



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