Boris wants a Twitter ‘code of conduct’


8:10 pm - December 3rd 2012

by Sunny Hundal    


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London Mayor Boris Johnson has a piece in the Telegraph today perfectly summarising the muddle-headed outrage of the right at Leveson

It is the web, not the press, that must be brought under control


Leveson is proposing to throw shackles around that part of the media that is already struggling – while doing nothing to tackle the riot of bile and slander on the web. It was Twitter that turned the BBC’s awful Newsnight into a monstrous libel of Lord McAlpine; and yet Leveson proposes no code of conduct for the Tweeters. Instead, he endorses just about every politically correct criticism of the mainstream press, to the point where he seems to want to sterilise it of fun and flavour.

Just to reiterate here, Boris Johnson wants a code of conduct for Tweeters (would it be enforceable by a statutory body?), but doesn’t want one for newspapers.

If anyone on the Left had called for a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter they would be laughed at by the Right.

And here is the right’s biggest bloggers, self-styled libertarian Paul Staines, in the Sun the other day:

Their argument is the same: how dare that Justice Leveson propose rules and regulations for newspapers but not the internet?

This underscores the point I’ve been making all week. There is nothing conceivably practical that Leveson could have proposed about web regulation that would not be laughed at. So, wisely, he stuck to his remit.

Those people who wanted Leveson to write more about how the web affects newspapers either want a futile essay on the topic (in which case please read NeimanLab, CJR or Clay Shirky) or they wanted web regulation. They should spell it out.

In the meantime we can laugh at right-wingers for trying to propose mad schemes to save media barons.

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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


Indeed.

And as I pointed out earlier today:

http://zelo.tv/Vqkbao

Bozza really hates social media because he can’t stop it pointing out the shortcomings of his bike scheme, the vanity cable car and the vanity buses – as well as the fare hikes.

Well of course. The right owns most of the written media so they desperately want to control those parts they don’t own. He is just parroting the same demands of his right wing sugar daddies. They want to own the gateway to all media.

A capitalist media model is easy to control for the right. If they don’t like a particular publication they boycott it and encourage capitalist corporations to starve that outlet from advertising. The net would never have got off the ground if right wing moguls had fully understood what was being created.

It is interesting to see the big phone corporations in bed with the despot regimes around the world trying to censor and control the internet. The Right wants the internet turned into nothing more than a giant on line shopping mall, with the existing corporate media all that’s available.

Boris is just a puppet for his corporate masters.

I take the point that Twitter, like the web bulletin boards and online forums which preceded it, can be the medium for the rapid circulation of malicious, mendacious and intrusive rumours. But then so can chunks of the popular press, as was evinced by reporting on the McCanns, Chris Jefferies and Charlotte Church’s mother.

Some of that was subject to legal sanctions against hacking and libel, but not necessarily so. And I suspect newspaper reports are regarded as more dependable by most of its readers than mere postings to twitter. How can 7 million Sun readers be wrong? asked Tom Mockridge, who has just stepped down as the replacement for Rebekah Brooks as CEO of News International.

My worry is that many politicians would just love to control what goes on the web – the governments of China and Iran already control the access of their citizens.

The real reason is that ordinary folk can so easily check news archives for decades past and turn up with hugely embarrassing reports of things said and done which politicians would much prefer to be forgotten about.

Boris likes the “closed shop” of the corporate media where a select group of toadies can pontificate for high salaries (providing they spin a right wing agenda)

Some lackey at the Daily Mail was complaining that Stephen Fry has 5 million twitter followers. Over twice the circulation of the Daily Fail. They don’t like the idea of things not filtered through the Darce/Murdoch rewrite.

As The Wizard says in Ozz “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Bob, there’s no worrying about it, be afraid, in two bills already they have tried to introduce some form of regulation of the net. Labour did at least.

@ Sally
Bozzabot wanna rule…
…in its owners name (guess who bozzabot’s owners are)

7. Chaise Guevara

Speaking of remits, the definition of “politically correct” is getting rather broad. Apparently it now includes the idea of newspapers not spying on people and telling damaging lies.

Don’t usually bother responding to Sunny but this totally mis-represents my view at 180 degrees to reality.

The Sun article is a precis of my article in the Wall Street Journal last week where – as at the Leveson Inquiry – I argued that you can’t regulate the world wide web and you shouldn’t regulate a free press. The existing criminal code can deal with the crimes already committed for which journalists have been arrested.

If you want to know what I really think:

http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Third-Witness-statement-from-Paul-Staines.pdf

and

http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Submission-by-Paul-Staines.pdf

9. Chaise Guevara

Oh, from Boris’s article:

“He [Leveson] complains, for instance, that the Mail was wrong to say that an asylum seeker was given leave to remain because of the attachment he had formed to his cat. I read the judgment, and the cat was certainly mentioned. It struck me as an entirely legitimate headline.”

There is no way that Boris Johnson can’t tell the difference between “X was mentioned in a court case” and “X was the deciding factor in the judgement at said court case”. So he’s essentially saying he’s fine with the media lying to people.

Incidentally, any code of conduct for Twitter would probably be less stringent than its existing house rules.

10. Richard Carey

It would be one thing if Liberal Conspiracy took a principled position on these things, but the only reason this comment from Boris is getting mentioned is because he’s a Tory. If a Labour politician had said the exact same thing, Sunny would either ignore it or defend it.

11. Richard Carey

@ 8 Chaise,

don’t mention misleading headlines, it’s a bit of a touchy subject round these parts.

I think if people read Boris’s piece they’ll see he’s not calling for a code of conduct for twitter. He’s merely making the point that, if the intention is to sanitise the media, shackling the press with legislation will not achieve this.

Tory troll………….” It would be one thing if Liberal Conspiracy took a principled position……..?zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

No one is remotely interested.

13. Chaise Guevara

@ 10 Richard

“I think if people read Boris’s piece they’ll see he’s not calling for a code of conduct for twitter. He’s merely making the point that, if the intention is to sanitise the media, shackling the press with legislation will not achieve this.”

Agreed. The OP should focus on Boris’s apparent complacency about reporting falsehoods as fact (which as you point out would be a bit pot-kettle-black on this site, but it’s still a valid issue, and I think we can all agree that Sunny’s bizarre inability to combine headlines and truth is less important than a fake story in a national paper that helps determine Theresa May’s immigration policy).

@8

That story that Boris referred to is a prime example of why the press need further regulation.

The guy in question was a student and neither an asylum seeker or immigrant. He was allowed to stay in the country because he was in a genuine long term relationship with a woman who was allowed to be here which is under Border Agency rules. The cat was mentioned as a throw away remark.

The Mail, and many others, twisted the ruling and placed undeserved emphasis on one line to fit their anti-immigration editorial positions. The PCC turned down all complaints because they weren’t from the man mentioned. This left the distortion unchecked and with enough repetition it became accepted truth. So much so that both Boris and Theresa May both think it is true.

http://tabloid-watch.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/that-darn-cat.html

There was a near identical case with a guy who was supposedly allowed to stay because he went to the gym.

http://fullfact.org/factcheck/did_an_immigrant_win_residence_by_going_to_gym-3057

Also see ‘Winterval’ for another great example of press lies becoming accepted truth. No laws have been broken here but the lack of regulatory powers have damaged the country. I’m all for freedom of the press but I think it means freedom to print the truth and not freedom to print whatever they want.

15. Chaise Guevara

Well said, Chris.

Actually twitter shows what politicians and journos really think.
Pissed, watching the mixed race couple at the olympics and giving the world the real “me” in 147 characters.

Also if Gordon had suggested targetting Twitter. Richard, SFMS and others would be shouting NulabZanu.

Dont North Korea and Iran want to muzzle social media? Isn’t anything which allows the government to defenestrate our chresished free speech akin to Mao and Catro and, like, Hitler and stuff?

How can we go to Russia and tell them they have to give their people free speech when we are legislating… Yadda, left-wing, yadda Magna Carta, yadda.

so finally people have woken up to the biggest con job in politacal history and his name is boris johnston,he is always portrayed in the media as good old bumblimg boris the best freind of the commen people and man and woman in the street and one of the lads,big con,are boris is as hard line right wing as they come,he is no freind of the poor,he is no freind of the sick and disabled,he is no freind of the working classes,dont be fooled by this conman who like most conservatives hate freedom of speech,you have been warned.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Jason Brickley

    Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter from Leveson http://t.co/8ZatPzic

  2. Gael

    RT @libcon: Boris wants a 'code of conduct' for Twitter from Leveson http://t.co/9pp1lltR #leveson @AdamBienkov

  3. G Phi

    Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter from #Leveson | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/fsAr8wh6 via @libcon

  4. leftlinks

    Liberal Conspiracy – Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter from Leveson http://t.co/cUn65ySX

  5. Sunny Hundal

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  6. Tim Easton

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  7. Wendy Seabrook

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  8. Hussain Cheema

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  9. Ste P.

    Really? “@sunny_hundal: Boris Johnson, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/loEssuMS Yet no one batted an eyelid”

  10. Gael

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  11. Steve

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  12. Leveson ReTweet

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  13. Leveson ReTweet

    Really? “@sunny_hundal: Boris Johnson, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/loEssuMS Yet no one batted an eyelid”

  14. Saggydaddy

    Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter #Leveson | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/T1jsDdry < God you really are a balloon Boris

  15. Padbrit

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  16. Ryan D

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  17. Yann Cogito

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  18. NLC (UK)

    "Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for #Twitter from #Leveson" (Liberal Conspiracy) – http://t.co/4zg9Jwuv

  19. Hannah

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  20. Martin Hume

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  21. Semmone

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  22. Bernadette Hawkes

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  23. Anne Joynes

    Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, wants to see a 'code of conduct' for Twitter users http://t.co/lZvD5Scj Yet no one batted an eyelid

  24. Nick Bennett

    @wilde @stellabylight Boris Johnson already gunning for Twitter. http://t.co/FPGnzaN5 What a gruesome twosome he and G. #McCann would make.

  25. Hayley N Lakely

    @wilde @stellabylight Boris Johnson already gunning for Twitter. http://t.co/FPGnzaN5 What a gruesome twosome he and G. #McCann would make.

  26. Rothley Pillowcase ™

    @wilde @stellabylight Boris Johnson already gunning for Twitter. http://t.co/FPGnzaN5 What a gruesome twosome he and G. #McCann would make.

  27. Sunny Hundal

    I was right about Leveson ignoring how the internet impacts newspapers (as right-wingers prove) http://t.co/kvOCrgXH

  28. Oana Jinga

    I was right about Leveson ignoring how the internet impacts newspapers (as right-wingers prove) http://t.co/kvOCrgXH

  29. Tony Kennick

    I was right about Leveson ignoring how the internet impacts newspapers (as right-wingers prove) http://t.co/kvOCrgXH

  30. Andy Hicks

    Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter from Leveson | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/BWyVk4Vp via @libcon This is funny.

  31. Leveson ReTweet

    Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter from Leveson | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/BWyVk4Vp via @libcon This is funny.

  32. Adrianne Seb-Scott

    Boris Johnson – "It is the web, not the press, that must be brought under control" How, Bojo? Twat.
    http://t.co/Sz2GdV3o

  33. Urban

    Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter from Leveson http://t.co/4bBiWhMj via @zite

  34. Leveson ReTweet

    Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter from Leveson http://t.co/4bBiWhMj via @zite

  35. Foxy52

    I was right about Leveson ignoring how the internet impacts newspapers (as right-wingers prove) http://t.co/kvOCrgXH

  36. Dan Sanderson

    Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter from Leveson http://t.co/G3vHgPTj

  37. Alex Braithwaite

    Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter from Leveson | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/uVIxv57t via @libcon

  38. legal aware

    Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter from Leveson | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/13I4kTAF via @libcon @sunny_hundal

  39. Zarathustra

    Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter from Leveson | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/S9sEMHZb via @libcon No. Just no.

  40. Ravi Subramanian

    Boris wants a ‘code of conduct’ for Twitter from Leveson < but he doesn't want a statutory body for the press

    http://t.co/twSDbGnn





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