Twibel: Fight Bad Speech with More Speech
The informal nature of social media conversations makes it a ripe environment for the spreading of rumors and potential falsehoods. Defamation law has aimed to strike a balance between free speech and protecting the reputations of others.
Applying traditional defamation law to social media requires classifying online users and their speech in new ways that have yet to be clarified. While traditional methods may be adequate when the defendant is a mainstream media organization, the existing legal framework is less effective in the social media environment, one that is fast, flexible and free. It is necessary to find a remedy for Twibel that uses defamation law as a tool and not an obstacle. Twibel needs an adaptable remedy that encourages civil discourse among users and deters defamatory speech on Twitter. It is crucial that this remedy considers how technology has fundamentally changed they way people create and consume news and information.
Professor of Legal Skills
Stetson University College Of Law
Faculty, Digital Trends & Social Media
Poynter Institute For Media Studies
Since joining The Poynter Institute in 2007, Ellyn Angelotti has helped Poynter explore the journalistic values and the legal challenges related to new technologies, especially social media. She also has helped create and develop Poynter’s use of interactive teaching tools like online chats and podcasts.
Angelotti regularly teaches journalists how to effectively use interactive tools as storytelling vehicles, and how using these tools changes the media landscape. In the summer of 2009 she traveled to South Africa to teach and research mobile storytelling. As a judge for national multimedia journalism contests, including the National Press Photographers Association Awards and E.W. Scripps National Journalism Awards, she has studied and taught about best practices in innovative storytelling.
Her current work is focused on the intersection of journalism, technology and the law. She is attending law school part-time at Stetson University College of Law.
Before coming to Poynter, Angelotti directed award-winning, nontraditional multimedia sports content at the Naples Daily News in Florida. There she created and produced two interactive vodcasts, “PrepZone” and “Blades Playbook,” which won the Newspaper Association of America’s Digital Edge Award for Most Innovative Multimedia Storytelling. While attending the University of Kansas, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and journalism, she worked at the Lawrence Journal-World as multimedia journalist. There she helped launch two award-winning websites and weekly print products, “Game” and “The Lansing Current.”