Twitter troll to pay Stephen Nolan six figure damages…

A bad week for whoever was behind the Pastor Jimberoo Twitter account as Stephen Nolan just made their bank account over a 100k lighter. From the BBC report: A person who used anonymous Twitter accounts to make defamatory remarks about Stephen Nolan has apologised and agreed to pay a six-figure damages sum. The BBC radio and TV presenter traced the identity of the person who was behind an online campaign against him. In a statement issued by the person’s lawyer, …

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You are never as anonoymous online as you think…

Eoghan Harris has been sacked by the Irish Independent for running a sock puppet Twitter account. There is also a good overview of the story in the Irish Times. For those not aware of the term this is when you set up a Twitter account with a fake name. I am not a reader of the Irish Independent so I have never read anything by Eoghan Harris. I have no opinion of him either way but I know he does …

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Freedom to express, but not freedom to incite?

Western liberal democracies pride themselves on the right to freedom of expression. But social media has within the last decade or so had a profound impact on the possibilities of political expression. The suspension of Donald Trump’s access to Twitter, Facebook and now YouTube following the assault on the Capitol on 6th January has opened up a new debate on whether this ban is contrary to the right of free speech. The irony is that Trump’s supporters have accused these …

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If I had to do lockdown again, I would cut back on media…

In my younger years, I used to backpack around the world. One time I met an Australian girl who mentioned that she never consumed any news at all. This has always stuck in my mind. I was amazed and asked her was she not worried about missing out on anything important? Her insightful reply was that if it were important enough people would tell her. She gave the example of 9/11. The day after 9/11, someone said to her ‘Did …

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Much to dislike about the 8th referendum campaign

As the campaigns to repeal or retain the 8th Amendment forge ahead, the first major television debate is now in the history books. The “three on three” format, on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live with audience contributions and boisterous applause throughout, has been criticised for shedding more heat than light. Meanwhile, Google’s late stage decision to call a halt to all online referendum advertisements, no matter who pays for them, has sparked outrage from backers of a No vote, who are …

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George Orwell and Twitter rage…

Interesting post over at The Idler about Twitter rage. In our current cultural climate, opinions have gotten very black and white, you need to pick a side. Nuance and shades of grey have gone out the window to be replacement by mock outrage. To quote the post: The periodic bouts of hatred directed at public figures on Twitter reminds me of Orwell’s “Two Minutes Hate” in 1984. In Two Minutes Hate, the residents of Oceania watch images of the enemy on …

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High Court awards Elliot £48,750 damages [plus costs] for Flanagan libel

Whilst waiting for the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle to ratify his re-selection as a candidate in Fermanagh/South Tyrone, at the second time of trying, notorious tweeter Phil Flanagan, MLA, has discovered the cost of his “grossly defamatory” libel against former UUP leader, Tom Elliot, then MLA, now MP for FST.  As the BBC reports The High Court in Belfast has awarded almost £50k in damages to a former Ulster Unionist leader over a defamatory message posted on Twitter. Mr Justice Stephens …

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NI Assembly Insurers Refuse to Cover Sinn Féin’s Phil Flanagan for Compensation and Costs Awarded in Tom Elliot Libel Case

It’s worth noting to begin with that that refusal is in accordance with advice given to Jack Peel, Deputy Head of Finance, NI Assembly in March 2011 by Karen McLaverty, Vice President, Marsh Ltd, who provide the Assembly insurance broking and risk management services. Nineteen months after libelling the former UUP leader, Tom Elliot, then an MLA, now MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone [since May 2015], the recently deselected Sinn Féin MLA, Phil Flanagan, appeared in Belfast High Court yesterday where he recognised the …

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Men Bleed Too- the Incoherent Outrage of Men’s Rights Activists

MENS RIGHTS: There has been a recent upsurge in the number of disgruntled men taking to social media to loudly proclaim that they too suffer. They too suffer domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment, and a range of other injustices. They are determined to let the world (for that, read women) know that they suffer, and that they demand change.

It wasn’t quite Twitter wot won it – social media and the General Election

In the end, it was hardly a case of “as Twitter goes, so goes the nation”. If the election had been decided by the number of followers each candidate had before the election, Ed Miliband would have been elected Prime Minister, albeit needing the help of the Liberal Democrats and, um, the Pirate Party. The FT Data blog (£) has some fascinating charts showing how the conversation on Twitter was dominated by supporters of Labour and the SNP. It is apparent …

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If #GE2015 was decided by Twitter – the candidates with the most followers in each constituency

Politicians’ attitudes towards social media have evolved significantly since David Cameron’s famously disparaging comments about Twitter in 2009. Social media is now widely accepted as one of the key theatres of the electoral battle, and is widely being used by politicians and aspiring candidates to build a relationship with potential voters and boost their profile. The excellent dataset created by yournextmp.com shows how different social media platforms are being used by those seeking election to the House of Commons.  Of …

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Basil’s call to arms issued to a small room of cats (who may be reluctant to be herded) #tweetupni

At Thursday night’s Slugger O’Toole Tweet Up in the Hudson Bar, Basil McCrea took the opportunity to deliver a more elaborate speech than the informal remarks I’d expected. (Earlier in the evening Máirtín Ó Muilleoir also stopped by for some casual craic.) The NI21 leader has been unusually quiet for a protracted period, though answered a few media questions after his party’s conference in December, and has been speaking much less sporadically [Ed – you mean, speaking more often?] in …

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Gerry Adams ‘tweets’ and that “streak of sentimentality that marks the totalitarian mind”?

Awright, I’m not really sure to do with this, except to say this oddly narcissistic video from The Journal has gone somewhat viral… In lieu of any coherent response from me, here’s Henry McDonald with his take on the general phenomenon… …like every other move Adams has made both inside and outside the republican movement, these tweets are carefully considered and released at strategic times. Is it the height of cynicism to suggest that the headline-grabbing nude-man-and-dog bouncing act was …

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The trolling of Ann Travers

The first in a three part series exploring so-called ‘trolling’ and abuse on social media At the beginning of November 2014 it was widely reported that victims campaigner Ann Travers had closed down her Facebook and Twitter accounts following a barrage of online abuse. It’s worth reminding people of the fact that Ann’s sister, Mary, was murdered by the IRA in Belfast in 1984. The target of the ambush was their father, Tom, a resident magistrate. He survived. In 2011 …

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Gerry Adams: I Rise

The Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams, has delivered a big two fingers up to all of his media critics. I know on Slugger I get a lot of “we don’t read that thing” from Shinners but we like to think that every now and then he stops by to see how Mick is keeping. Anyway, below is his latest blog post on the media, his twitter feed and a poem: Certain media commentators have recently made an issue of the …

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“If you ask me one thing I could have done without in the last twelve months it’s social media” Jamie Bryson

photo by Brian O'Neill

I finally listened back to the discussion after December’s Transformative Networks – Social Media, Politics and Protests panel event at UU’s Belfast campus. The audio recording wasn’t particularly clear – a large room with everyone sitting around the edges – so at the time I didn’t upload the entire Q&A session. But some snippets are worth sharing for posterity. Harriet Long commented on the continued usefulness of long-form blogging in the age of micro-blogging: I write a blog which is …

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Does social media have much influence or use in NI politics or protests? #nisocialpol

Researchers Orna Young and Jonny Byrne hosted a panel discussion in the University of Ulster this morning on Transformative Networks – Social Media, Politics and Protests. A panel gave their thoughts and afterwards there was a discussion. In the first part you’ll hear Orna Young introduce the event, followed by Alan Meban and Dave Magee. listen to ‘Part 1 of panel on Social Media, Politics & Protests #nisocialpol @alaninbelfast, @dgmagee ’ on Audioboo The second part covers Harriet Long, Brian …

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The easy misogyny of recent Twitter outbursts is disturbing, but…

Paul Mason’s disillusion with Twitter (and Facebook) is palpable. The reason? They are becoming sodden with trolls. A CNBC documentary claimed 70% of Twitter users check their timeline within three minutes of waking up. This, in my household, would be considered slow. Among journalists Twitter has replaced “the wires”: all you have to do is follow someone you know is at the frontline of a particular story and you have not just eyewitness reports but usually corroboration, or adjustment, within seconds. …

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