Twitter: Libel or Freedom of Speech?
Twitter is viagrae of the fastest growing social networks, linking people all over the world. Billions of tweets fly through the Twittersphere each day, but one particular tweet has caused quite the upset.
Under the username @abonnen Amanda Bonnen complained about her Chicago apartment owned by Horizon Realty. The apartment at 4242 N. Sheridan is just one of about 1,500 other properties owned by the company. This one tweet that only reached about 20 different followers has landed the women in court being sued for $50,000 on charges of libel.
Horizon’s Jeffrey Michael told the Sun-Times, “The statements are obviously false, and it’s our intention to prove that”, adding that Horizon has a good reputation to protect. Bonnen wasn’t contacted before the suit was filed or asked to remove the Tweet. He continued to say, “We’re a sue first, ask questions later kind of an organization.”
Where is the line between freedom of speech and libel? It seems to be a very easily blurred line. Did Amanda Bonnen have the right say what she did? If she had worded it differently would it not have been taken as libel?
What do you think? Should she be sued or exonerated?