Warning: The wrong tweet can get you sued

A Chicago-area woman is being sued for $US50,000 by her landlord over a critical Tweet, the Chicago Sun-Times reported today.

A Chicago-area woman is being sued for $US50,000 by her landlord over a critical Tweet, the Chicago Sun-Times reported today. The landlord is quoted as describing itself as a "sue first and ask questions later kind of an organization." The tweet in question appeared to go to fewer than 20 friends of the sender.

Listen people, you can get sued for Tweets the same as you can get sued over something you post to a Web site or blog. You may think you are only tweeting to friends, but unless you select "Protect My Tweets" on your Twitter "account" page your tweets are both public and searchable. Facebook isn't safe, either.

Companies are already using bots to mind their Twitter reputations, alerting them when their companies are mentioned in Twitter conversation. Thus, it was only a matter of time before the lawyers showed up.

The May 12 Tweet, sent by a user named "abonnen" reads in part: "Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it's okay."

Well, Horizon Group Management, says it was "maliciously and wrongfully" defamed by the tweet and decided to sue the sender, identified as Amanda Bonnen. If you want to read more about this train wreck, read the original story.

My point is that when you speak online you never really know who is listening. And you may not know about the speaker, either. Maybe a criticism is valid, maybe not. Maybe you'll get sued, maybe not.

A well-heeled business clearly has the power to use its lawyers to intimidate valid criticism from individuals. At the same time, businesses and individuals deserve recourse against malicious lies, often spread anonymously online.

The moral? Be careful what you say, don't believe everything you read, and if you're a business, realize that filing suit may get you more publicity than the Tweet you are suing over.

David Coursey tweets as @techinciter, but never about his landlord.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags lawsuitssocial networkingtwitter

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

David Coursey

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?