Don’t Twitter; Go To Jail?
Nov 24th, 2009 by scaredpoet


So apparently, the city of New York feels that you can be thrown in jail for refusing to Tweet:

Police in Long Island, New York, have arrested a man for not using Twitter.

Someone named Justin Bieber, who apparently is a teenage singer, was supposed to appear at the Roosevelt Field mall on Friday, but stayed away because the crowd had become too unruly. Police asked a record label executive to help disperse the horde using the messaging service, and claim he didn’t cooperate.

The record label exec got charged with – get this – criminal nuisance, endangering the welfare of a minor and obstructing government administration.  All for not tweeting?

Okay… first off, has anyone in this crowd of raving lunatics listened to Justin Bieber’s music?  Thanks to the advent of iTunes web previews, you can get just enough of a sample to realize that “his” music is utter crap.  And I say “his” because there is so much Auto-tune and post-processing going on that what one is hearing is just not a human voice.  So, we all know what this is about: a fresh-faced looking kid being served up to a bunch of fanatical screaming fangirls who care not that the poor kid can’t actually sing.

Sorry kid.  But being audio-processed to death just ain’t singin’.

Anyway, back to my point… the bottom line is this: anyone who was a part of this stupid crowd pretty much deserved to be Darwin’d.

Second, apparently there were in fact tweets telling people to go home.  The crowd ignored them.  Gee, what a surprise!

So, what is the NYPD on about here?  Twitter is an interesting tool, but not a magic, Simon-Says, crowd-dispersing device.  And besides, keeping quiet was probably the best thing the record exec could’ve done, rather than sending out more tweets that would at best be ignored, and at worst caused a more inflammatory response.  What minor was endangered here?  What criminal nuisance did the arrestee cause?

Teenybopperism aside, this case could have chilling effects for speech (or, lack thereof).  So now you can get arrested if The State directs you to say something via your (or the person you represent’s) Twitter account?  Uhh, not exactly the road we should be going down.

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