Chambers’ Joke Tweet Seen As Bomb Threat

Posted by Laura Wittren

To tweet or not to tweet?  That is the question.  What is appropriate to post on Twitter and what isn’t?

Paul Chambers found out the hard way that somethings should not be shared online.  Back on January 6, he tweeted this:

The joke intended for his friends blew up (no pun intended) in his face after he was arrested a week later.  Originally his arrest was for terrorism but his charge for a law aimed at nuisance calls.  He was convicted a “menace” and fined about £1000.  A few days ago, he lost his appeal against his conviction and sentence and now has to pay an extra £2000 for court costs.

The day he was arrested, Chambers was greeted at his front door by cops with a print out of his tweet.  And according to an article on cnet, the policemen weren’t very tech savvy.

“I had to explain Twitter to them in its entirety because they’d never heard of it,” said Chambers.
Now those opposed to Chambers’ conviction did are copying his tweet with the hashtag #iamspartacus.
Where does tweeting cross the line?  Should tweeters be more cautious of what they post?  Was Chamber’s sentence fair, or should law enforcers have taken the context of Twitter into account?
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5 responses to “Chambers’ Joke Tweet Seen As Bomb Threat

  1. I think law enforcement handled the case correctly. With the increase of terrorism activity both outside and within the United States in the last ten years, threats are taken very seriously. I appreciate that Chambers was looked into, that his threat was checked on. I would rather have law enforcement be safe than sorry. Just because Twitter is online doesn’t mean that one can be more fluid and careless with one’s speech. I would argue the opposite, We need to remember that the Internet is an open area, free to the public. Anyone can read what we write, listen to what we say. I think Chambers learned his lesson.

  2. This is hillarious, only in the 21st century would such a thing occur. He should know the repercussions of such a tweet. The police has to treat every threat seriously and even though it’s unfortunate, this is how these cases have to be handled.

  3. Jessica Anderson

    Airport safety is definitely not a joking matter. If it was, we wouldn’t have resorted to high-tech solutions like body scanners. Law officials reacted correctly to his post–even though it was thoughtless. Yet again, I think this represents the difference between things you can say to your friends jokingly and things you can post on the Internet.

  4. I definitely agree with all of you. Especially looking at 9/11, I feel that terrorism is no joking matter, especially where planes are concerned. This is another classic case where people need to be careful what they say on social networking sites.

  5. I agree with Jackie. We have free speech – to a point. Saying something like that could be cause for panic and damages, so it is dangerous. Just because you think it’s a joke doesn’t mean others will, especially considering the multitude of terrorist attacks. Some things will just never be funny.

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