Ryan Giggs: Man-whore, Crybaby, and Aspiring Censor of the Internet

First of all, some background for those who aren't on Twitter or don't follow UK news. Footballer (soccer player) Ryan Giggs obtained an injunction prohibiting UK newspapers from revealing that he was the Man United player alleged to have had an affair with Imogen Thomas. People on Twitter then tweeted his identity, and now he is demanding Twitter turn over personal details of people who may have breached the injunction.
Info from Wikipedia

Then the UK's Guardian newspaper had the testicular fortitude and incredible stupidity to post this article arguing, wait for it... the imposition of a 5 second delay on all tweets, and that Twitter be required to screen every one of the 50 million tweets sent every day.

Here's my response:

This has to be one of the most laughable articles I have ever read. British privacy injunction law ranks up there with the UK's tortured libel laws as glaring examples of a western free society trampling the right to speech.

The author of this article might as well suggest that the UK require a 5 second delay on all mobile phone conversations and texts, because someone might mention Ryan Giggs in a phone conversation as easily as they do on Twitter. Should we allow Giggs to sue 3, Orange, O2, and other mobile providers for not using voice recognition software to mute the words "Ryan Giggs" from conversations? Perhaps he should sue the Royal Mail to determine if anyone said anything nasty about poor Mr. Giggs in the post.

As the author points out, Facebook has 500 million members, and Twitter 175 million. The sheer scale of content defies attempts to regulate it, and proves how backward UK injunction law is when you attempt to apply it to social media. Twitter alone has surpassed 50 million tweets per day. Even if you automated it to screen for pre-selected words, you would need to employ an enormous amount of staff to monitor the screening. And then people like me would start tweeting things like "bRYAN eGiggs" to avoid the censors. Or using Leet speak or other internet languages. Who pays for this screening? Thin skinned celebrities like Giggs?

Furthermore, to describe Facebook and Twitter users as "citizen journalists" is disingenuous. Facebook and Twitter are not, first and foremost, news sites, nor do they position themselves as such. I use a mobile phone, and I often discuss what's happening over that phone connection, but that does not make me a citizen journalist, it does not make every phone call I make a news report, nor does it make my service provider in the business of news.

In the United States, a court can order parties to a case not to comment on it but has no authority to stop unrelated reporters from reporting on a case. Furthermore, I doubt Giggs will have any success bringing an action against Twitter, because here in the States we are rather tetchy about a pesky little thing called the First Amendment. Twitter is an American company, protected by the American (written) Constitution, and as such any "tweets" that it sends out, after receiving them from users, even if based in the UK, are protected communications.
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The judge in the suit has apparently ruled that Twitter itself, despite being a US company, must follow UK law. I would refer his lordship's attention to quote attributed to the American President Andrew Jackson: "John Marshall has made his decision now let him enforce it."

To be fair to the Guardian, they also posted this article arguing that Ryan Giggs is an "enemy of web freedom." Which he absolutely is, as well as being an insufferable moron, an arrogant wanker, and a crybaby.

*EDIT* Thanks to this blog post, A Twat in a Hat, for correcting the initial impression created by that awful Guardian article that Twitter was being sued. I have edited my introduction. Great points made as well, check it out.

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