What can we say on social media – and what can we not say?

7th October 2014

What can we say on social media – and what can we not say?

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When does sending messages become harassment or stalking?

The law has had to develop to keep pace with the growth of social media.  And the law has done so, acting swiftly and effectively when it considers lines have been crossed.  But one person’s banter is another person’s harassment so how does the average person know where these lines are?

 

What the law says is, “strike a balance between victim protection and freedom of expression” .  Every case is going to have particular facts so the balance is going to be different in every case.  However, some elements will be common to all sets of circumstances.  Highly offensive personal remarks, racial and religious comment all cross the line.  Remarks which cause serious alarm or distress or which interfere with day to day activities will probably cross the line. Harassment by repeated aggressive messaging will cross the line.
The law will act even on what may have started out as ‘bit of fun’.  Before you send any social media message think about the impact it will have and think again before pressing the send button.  If you have been subjected to what you think might be abuse by social media, Hugh Rowland at Gotelee is worth talking to.  Hugh can offer guidance on the up to date position in this fast evolving area of law.  And can help if you think you might have crossed a line. Contact Hugh Rowland [email protected] or 01473 298141.

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