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Twitter TOS: Does It Apply To Celebrities?

Hello Everyone!

I hope all is well.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post on Black Web 2.0 about Twitter's Terms of Service Agreement and whether it applied to Celebrity Twitters. The article spread like wildfire on the web and I was kind of surprised. Read the full article below and tell me what do you think.

Over the past week Hip-Hop artist, 50 Cent, took control of his Twitter account and went on a tweet rampage. He threatened to kill people, posted pornographic images, issued defamatory statements against other artists, and also made racist statements. His Twitpic account was suspended due to the pornographic images. But his Twitter account is still up and running.

If that weren’t enough, last Sunday, Denver Nuggets forward, Carmelo Anthony and his wife Lala got into a Twitter fight with exhibitionist Kat Stacks. Allegedly, Carmelo offered $5000 cash to anyone who would physically harm Kat Stacks. He also allegedly threatened her with physical harm. As a result Stacks has filed charges against Anthony.

Is Twitter becoming the wild, wild west of social networks? Twitter does have “Twitter Rules” in their Terms of Service Agreement that outlines Rules of Content for posted content. Specifically Twitter prohibits:

1. Impersonation

2. Trademark Infringement

3. Violation of Privacy

4. Violence and Threats

5. Copyright Infringement

6. Promotion of Illegal Activities

7. Spam Abuse

But considering 50 Cent’s Twitter account is still up and running and other Tweeters are also guilty of violating Twitter’s Rules of Conduct, does Twitter actually enforce these rules? Twitter states “we do not actively monitor user’s content and will not censor user content, except in the above limited circumstances.” Twitter basically covers themselves with this statement and considering the millions of users on Twitters, it makes sense. But is Twitter motivated to take action against violators, especially if they are celebrities and have millions of followers like 50 Cent? The rapper even bragged that @ev (Evan Williams), co-founder of Twitter, gave him a call and said he was the best thing that happened to Twitter. This may or may not be true, but it is an interesting statement.

Carmelo Antony’s Twitter account was deleted but we don’t know if Twitter deleted his account or the NBA forced him to delete his account. His statements to Kat Stacks are a federal crime and if proven he did in fact make the statements from his computer or mobile device, he could potentially face jail time and suspension from the NBA. Carmelo and his wife are now claiming his Twitter account was hacked and he did not send the criminal tweets.

Whether Twitter enforces its Rules of Conduct are debatable. However, when Tweets are written and sent, they are forever in cyberspace regardless of whether the user deletes the tweet or their Twitter Account. Tweets are public records and can be used as evidence in any civil or criminal litigation. I previously wrote a post on the Do’s and Dont’s of Twitter. Many of those Do’s and Dont’s included several of the above Twitter Rules. But regardless if Twitter kicks violators off Twitter or not, engaging in “Dont’s” can get you sued, jail time, and fines.

So be careful what you tweet. When in doubt, just don’t.

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