Maybe Jennifer Aniston is not the best example if you espouse the mantra 'live by the camera die by the camera'. She has had plenty of opportunities as a result of her media profile; she has significant resources as a result of her public profile to shield her from the worse excesses of the Internet. But she is a useful poster child to remind us of the dangers of the Internet.
It was a revelation this month to discover that calling for tougher curbs on smoking, made me a Nazi. Strike that, it was a surprise when my (admittedly provocative) Huffington Post article received a slew of 'she's a Nazi' comments, when my twitter account was inundated with trolls, when I received hate E-mail...
Those who devote their energies to stopping same-sex marriage may very well be motivated by a genuine, albeit misplaced, fear over child welfare. If child welfare really is such a concern, perhaps they should review the evidence and direct just a fraction of their energy towards creating a more equal society...
So many people warn about the dangers associated with the use of social media (including me!) and rightly so. One wrong move (or Tweet) and you could find yourself only one click away from disaster. The recent example of Emma Way's tweet which led to her being labelled a "twit and run driver" was like watching a car crash unfolding in slow motion.
Recently, a sensationalistic news story about a Saudi Prince threatening to sue Forbes for an allegedly defamatory article within its annual Billionaires' List got tongues wagging. It's just the sort of international tale of caricature-esque hubris that newspapers and magazines swoon over. And, from a legal standpoint, the monarch's decision to sue in the UK -- monolithically referred to as 'the libel capital of the world' -- was contentious as well, especially in light of the new Defamation Act.
Social media users beware: you cannot tweet with impunity. Social media has made publishing vastly easier, but it has not made publishing responsibility free. And while the law was caught sleeping, it is now clear: the criminal and civil can come after you and hold you to account. Ignorance is no defense. So take note.
In November 2012, BBC's "Newsnight" broadcast a report making serious allegations against 'a leading Conservative politician from the Thatcher years'. A frenzy of speculation followed on social media sites, with Mrs Bercow tweeting to her 56,400 followers: Why is Lord McAlpine trending? *Innocent face*. Lord McAlpine commenced libel action claiming damages over the Tweet.
The decision by the UK publishers not to distribute Amanda Knox's autobiography has been interpreted in some media circles as being another example of the detrimental impact of our so called draconian libel laws. In reality, the publisher's decision is more likely to have been based on an understandable concern not to expose themselves to potential contempt of Court as well as libel consequences, pending the outcome of the forthcoming re-trial in Italy.