Libel a Conservative peer
The infamous tweet by the Speakers wife, Sally Bercow, seemed inoffensive enough: “Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *innocent face*”, but it was tweeted in the shadow of the Newsnight report that had accused an unnamed Tory peer of sex offences. Put the two together and her tweet became libellous. She wasn’t the only one to be sued. So were thousands of other ‘ordinary’ people, who discovered that ‘safety in numbers’ isn’t much of defence to a libelled Conservative peer.
Incite a riot
In the aftermath of the Summer Riots in 2011, two men were convicted of using social media to ‘attempt to incite a riot’. Perhaps they were not the most adept users of the new medium, as their efforts did not result in the riot they had advocated – but it was enough to earn them each 4 years in prison.
“Twitter provides us with a wonderful platform to discuss/confront societal problems. We trend Justin Bieber instead.” @laurenleto
Reveal the new identity of one of the Bulger killers
Twitter users who tweeted or re-tweeted photographs of Jon Venables, one of James Bulger’s killers, were prosecuted for breaking the Court Order banning their identification. (Even if it is not actually them, it will still be a breach of the order).
Contact a defendant on trial (while you are one of the jury)
Joanne Fraill caused the collapse of a multi-million pound drugs trial by contacting the defendant on social media, in a trial where she was serving on the jury. She was jailed for contempt of court for breaking her oath as a juror.
Threaten to blow up an airport
“Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your shit together, otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!” Paul Chambers tweet saw him convicted of sending a ‘menacing electronic communication’ under the 2003 Communications Act. His conviction was later quashed when the High Court decided that he was probably not serious.
Read more here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twitter_Joke_Trial
Make abusive comments about a bullying victim
Sean Duffy was jailed for making “grossly offensive” comments after posting abusive messages about a teenager who committed suicide after being the victim of bullying. Trolling is an offense under the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and resulted in Duffy being jailed.
Read more here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14898564
Reveal a top-secret extramarital affair
Does anyone still not know that Ryan Giggs took out a super-injunction to prevent details of an extramarital affair being published? 75,000 Twitter users committed Contempt of Court by breaking the injunction – although, in the event, no action was taken against Twitter users.