Birmingham Politician Arrested for a Tweet

11. November 2010 – 18:51 by John Heaven (TuTech Innovation GmbH)

A Birmingham councillor has been arrested for allegedly inciting violence against a newspaper columnist. As reported on Davepress, the BBC and the Guardian, and also discussed on Jon Hickman’s blog, in response to Yasmin Alibhai Brown’s appearance on Radio 5 Live Councillor Gareth Compton wrote:

“Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing, really.”

Compton has since apologised and deleted the offending tweet.

As I commented on Jon Hickman’s blog, I think this shows the unpredictability of Twitter, and how the public’s reaction can abruptly swing from ignoring a flow of mildly offensive or banal chatter to multiplying thousandfold the one tweet that a politician wishes they never wrote. It’s not easy to identify that threshold, but politicians cross it at their peril.

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