Nowadays on social media we are able to make every thought of our own go public. Over the past few years, some tweeters took freedom of speech a bit too far and not long after they moved away from the keyboard they were in handcuffs. Threatening violence, bomb threats, mentioning mass shootings or assassinations can land you behind bars.
Amongst the dozen tweeters who have been arrested they have been mostly teenagers. Some tweets were intentionally vicious and others were supposedly jokes, yet everything you do say on social media can have consequences. In these following cases just 140 characters can put you behind bars.
12. Paul Chambers
In 2012, 27-year-old Paul Chambers thought it would be good way to release his frustration, caused by delays at the airport, on Twitter. He ‘joked’ about an airport bomb threat. His Tweet: “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!!”
Chambers was arrested 2 days before his flight was due to leave, when an airport employee had come across his tweet and passed this on to police. Chambers did not believe his silly ‘joke’ would be taken seriously yet he had to appeal in high court.
The lord chief justice, Mr Justice Griffith Williams, said, “We have concluded that, on an objective assessment, the decision of the crown court that this ‘tweet’ constituted or included a message of a menacing character was not open to it. On this basis, the appeal against conviction must be allowed.”
Chambers said outside the court he was “relieved” with the decision adding “It’s ridiculous it ever got so far.”