You may be wondering what, exactly, is a “Twibel”. Well, it’s a Twitter libel case. Seriously? People sue others because of Twitter posts? We live in a litigious society, folks, and people can be sued for what is written on social media sites (libel) just as easily as for what is said verbally (slander). And now, you’re probably wondering what happened to our First Amendment right of free speech. Here’s the thing…there is a very fine line between merely expressing your opinion and defamation, whether written or verbal.
So where are we going with this? Courtney Love is currently in court for posting a “Twibel” about her ex-lawyer, Rhonda Holmes, and she has the dubious distinction of being the first ever person to actually go to trial in the U.S. for a “Twibel”. According to ABC, Love’s 2010 tweet stated that the lawyer “had been ‘bought off’ because she wouldn’t help Love in a legal battle with the managers of her late husband’s estate.” At the time of his death, Courtney Love was married to Kurt Cobain, front man for Nirvana.
According to Brian Claypool, an attorney not connected to the case, “The Courtney Love Twitter lawsuit is monumental because the judge has now determined that tweeting in California can potentially give rise to liability under the theory of defamation.” Claypool added that “The Courtney Love case will set a precedent that will result in, potentially, the average person being liable as well.”
Love began her testimony yesterday, January 16, 2014, and is expected to continue on the stand today. She said the tweet was just her opinion but Holmes’ lawyer disagreed and told ABC News station KABC-TV that “the tweet was a damaging statement”.
Hmmm…wonder how this will affect the “Twitter celebrity wars”?