When Retweets Attack: Are Twitter Users Liable for Republishing the Defamatory Tweets of Others?

Citation data:

SSRN Electronic Journal

Publication Year:
2012
Usage 727
Abstract Views 590
Downloads 137
Social Media 4
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SSRN
SSRN Id:
2039132
DOI:
10.2139/ssrn.2039132
Author(s):
Daxton \"Chip\" Stewart
Publisher(s):
Elsevier BV
Tags:
libel; Twitter; social media; defamation; republication; Communications Decency Act
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article description
Under the republication doctrine, repeating false and defamatory statements has traditionally triggered liability for the repeater. However, some confusion has emerged regarding retweeting the posts of others on Twitter, the popular microblog site. Does retweeting the defamatory statement of another open the retweeter to liability? This article examines exceptions to the republication doctrine such as the single publication rule, the wire service defense, and the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to answer this question. A review of court opinions leads to the conclusion that Section 230 of the CDA provides a powerful shield for users of interactive computer services such as Twitter.