Twitter's super-injunction surge

 

Who's done well out of the super-injunction saga - besides the lawyers of course? The answer appears to be Twitter.

Obviously the San Francisco-based site did not set out to be at the centre of a British media firestorm. But the result, according to some figures I've been shown, has been a big surge in traffic.

Experian Hitwise, which gets its data from internet service providers, says UK traffic to Twitter's website hit a new high on Saturday, as a footballer's attempts to use the courts to identify people behind various tweets dominated the headlines. The traffic was 22% higher than the previous day.

Experian graph showing UK visits to Twitter

The record before then had been set on 9 May, when the headlines were about the Twitter account used to reveal the names of those who'd taken out injunctions - including some inaccurate information.

Since March, Twitter's share of all UK web traffic, as measured by visits to sites, has risen from around 0.34% to 0.54% on Saturday. It may not sound that much but it represents many millions of people coming to Twitter for the first time. By contrast, Facebook accounts for 7.64% of UK internet visits, and the BBC News website for 1%.

Experian Hitwise says 12% of all the visits to Twitter last week were by new users, and the fastest growing group of users over the last year has been 35-44 year olds.

The research company concludes that Twitter, once the preserve of early adopters, geeks and news junkies, is now reaching new audiences. So is this the tipping point that persuades mainstream users in the UK to move from other social networks?

It's probably too early to say - after all it's not every day that you can get exclusive access to material not available in the mainstream media. But it looks as though the events of the last few weeks have accidentally provided Twitter with one of the most powerful marketing campaigns ever seen on the web.

No doubt they'll be raising a glass in San Francisco to a certain professional footballer who cannot - for now at least - be named here.

 
Rory Cellan-Jones Article written by Rory Cellan-Jones Rory Cellan-Jones Technology correspondent

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 62.

    My feeling is that politicians may be talking about injunctions, but what they are _thinking_ about is the "Arab Spring".

    In the Internet's youth, before the suits, generally, were aware of it's existence there was a valuable resource based in Finland under the domain anon.penet.fi. It was killed by a very similar court case by people with a lot to hide. Sometimes we _need_ anonymity.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 61.

    Surely in order to be prosecuted for breaching a super-injunction you would need to be served with the injunction? Otherwise as no-one can mention who the injunction is for one cannot be assumed to know who not to say. The alternative is not to say anything about anyone - which completely undermines the right to free speach. Thus surely, by that logic, they are unsustainable?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 60.

    Pandatank hit the nail on the head. People are confusing freedom of speak/press with uncontrained gossip. Would they shout out rumours at their childrens playground? If the press spent less money and time on this they would have more resources for investigative journalism - using verified facts (not libelous gossip). Ironicly we here are all hiding behind anonymity - and 'censored' by the BBC..:)

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 59.

    I'm sure Twitter has done well out of this. Then again - the real story isn't Twitter, is it? That's like saying that the real story in a newspaper scoop is the newspaper itself. Wrote about this earlier in a post entitled "is Twitter an angry bird?" :http://wp.me/pF9OB-Fc

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 58.

    II was one of the many thousands who chose to name the footballer on Twitter.
    I couldn't care less what footballers get upto in their private life, but I do believe passionately in freedom of speech.
    The more important aspects of this story actually refer to the Trafigura & Fred the Shred cases. These are real stories of Public Interest & that's why I chose to comment on Twitter.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 57.

    What's that footballer's name again? Can't remember?

    Super injunctions are not new, but on the increase. I don't care what so-called celebrities do.

    But if super injunctions increase for elected 'representatives' who make our laws, take our taxes and, we the people, pay their salaries and expenses, then that is an unacceptable cesspit of corruption that must be exposed in the UK?

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 55.

    Has anybody ever checked if these judges actually know what the internet is? Many of them don't seem to know even the basics of modern communication. I suspect many of them still trust the faithful old wireless.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 54.

    @#43 MackemEd - There aren't 2 tiers of law in this country. Sharia law has as much legal status as following a kosher diet, or complying with your Vicar's instructions and BTW just what do you mean by "allowed to practice"? Anyone can take out an injunction or even a superinjunction, it's just usually a complete waste of time/money for a "normal person".

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 53.

    How on earth is knowing about a footballer's private life 'in the public's interest' (see the full article elsewhere)? Are we supposed to be afraid that they'll somehow sleep with our wives and girlfriends without us knowing or being able to tell people? Quite frankly, just as with the Terry farce, I couldn't care less what they get up to in their private lives. Only those close to them should.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 52.

    There is a fine line as what is in the public interest and what is private. The footballer in question has a family which as a result of this now public release of the alleged affair will be very destraught. But, this footballer has been living off his squeaky clean image for years, endorsing many products. So what is he protecting? His family or his 100,000's in endorsements for his retirement?

  • Comment number 51.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 50.

    What people seem to be losing sight of here, is that Twitter is basically gossip. Of course it's ridiculous to try and suppress gossip. Newspapers, on the other hand try to pretend they are selling news. Ok most of it is gossip wrapped in a veneer of "authority". This is all about what newspapers can & can't do. Freedom of the press is about their right to print truth, not a right to gossip monger

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 49.

    @35. Don't be so ridiculous. Everyone has the right to freedom of speech. They may be able to prosecute British citizens but not other citizens from other countries especially when their constitutions guarantee their freedoms.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 48.

    Lol at people thinking you need to rich to get a super-injunction. I know people who got one from a Civil Court and used no more than 30 minutes of the courts time.

    Know your law before talking about it people. You are only embarressing our nation by showing people around the world that it's own population aren't educated in the most basic things.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 47.

    43. MackemEd
    "Thank goodness you can't gag the W.W.W"

    The Chinese make a pretty good job of it. The Australians of all people are also trying pretty hard.

    The current fiasco could well bring more than we would like in the way of web controls.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 46.

    @41

    My idea of 8 prisoners per cell beats your idea of cells having Playstation 3's and widescreen TVs.

    Secondly, the person is question did not misuse the law, I appreciate my right to privacy and I am not super rich by any means at all. I can however get a super-injunction if needed, very easily and very cheaply.

    People like you need to re-evaluate on your priorities.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 45.

    Doesn't the Master of the Rolls and the rest of the judiciary have actual technicians and engineers who can advise them that the very nature of modern technology, PCs and the new generation of mobile telephones makes these backward laws on Calumny utterly unenforceable?

    There is a very simple solution to all this - we need a First Amendment of our very own!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 44.

    Originally in the Magna Carta but still on the statute is 'We will sell to no man either Justice or Right'. Yes we will, apparently, as only the rich can afford super injunctions so, clearly, the Law can be bought.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 43.

    Just how many tiers of law do we need in today’s Britain?
    Shari law is allowed to be practised in today’s Britain thus creating a two tier law system, now we have wealth law as practised via super-injunctions.Privacy law like all other law/s must come from parliament and not judges.
    Thank goodness you can't gag the W.W.W

 

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