Blogger gets libel threat for criticising company


8:47 pm - July 24th 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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Earlier today Labour blogger Luke Bozier tweeted:

Gordon Brown’s WebCreator website is not befitting of a former Prime Minister. Tangent should be ashamed. http://gordonbrown.org.uk

He also blogged his opinion in a longer post saying that Tangent, the web company that does many websites for the Labour party, were “taking the Labour community for a ride”.

Within a few hours he received communication from Tangent saying:

I respectfully suggest you delete that tweet, issue no more similar ones and generally try to sell your products in a more professional way. I really don’t like the prospect of either a public slanting match or legal action, but if I need to protect my company’s business and reputation, I will.

Outrageous.

On Twitter the story has already received a lot of attention, with people using the hashtag #OffTangent.

Tangent has been criticised heavily on Twitter by libel lawyer JackofKent.

We’ll write more if there are further developments.

Coverage across blogs:
MTPT: Trafigura-esque Tangents, or A very progressive digital agency
Adam Grace: Instant Corporate Karma
Planet Jamie: Say A Website Is Poor, Get Libel Threat
Sim-O: Another opinion that isn’t up to scratch

Top Tweets
JackofKent:

Gordon Brown’s WebCreator website is not befitting of a former Prime Minister. Tangent should be ashamed. #OffTangent

Mark Stephens:

#OffTangent companies shouldn’t be able to sue for libel. As is the case in Australia.

Rowan Davies:

Libel threat for saying a website is ‘crap’? http://bit.ly/auGYr3 Wouldn’t happen if Lester’s bill were law #OffTangent #libelreform

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments


What the actual fuck. Are we now officially Airstrip One or something?

It would appear that Tangent Plc, despite claiming on their website to: “combine technological expertise with marketing know-how”, haven’t heard of the Streisand effect.

#OffTangent
#prfail

Anyone mentioned Arkell v Pressdram yet?

I’ll get me coat…

I wouldn’t use them. And if they get criticism why not just defend themselves through pointing out how their websites work well and deliver results? Making idle threats is just a bit sad and suggests a lack of confidence in their own work (which I don’t think is particularly good).

Mind you, I get the impression a few design companies have cornered the parties’ web design markets. Lib Dems seem obsessed with Prater Raines, which is truly awful.

5. Flowerpower

Publishers of old-fashioned dead tree based media get this every day. Literally every day in some sectors. Libel reform is overdue.

What happened to freedom of expression in this country??

7. Cynical/Realist?

You miss out the part when the guy is hawking his own web design prducts. In my view, no matter how small you are, if you compete with a company you don’t tweet criticisms of your competitors. Especially when behind the scenes you are offering your own services to the people who’s sites you are attacking. Anyone else, fire away on twitter or elsewher, but if you are a competitor its just shoddy.

@6 – Nothing, thats why he was able to write it on twitter, its also why someone else is free to reply to him.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
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  45. Luke Bozier

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