Thursday, October 21, 2010

Second Thought 

This is an interesting tidbit.   A Broadway actor is suing to find out who is accusing him of infecting another person.  The accuser, of course, is anonymous and using Twitter.  The point the blogger makes is common-sense PR.  The actor should not have sued because now the New York newspapers have picked up the story and are running with it.  On the other hand, what if the anonymous accuser claimed something worse -- i.e., rape or murder or theft?  Would it have been smart to leave such accusations unanswered?  There is a point at which one must respond to protect reputation and to prevent legal consequences.  Perhaps an accusation of infection doesn't rise to the level of response, but who is to say where the cut-off is?  

This example is a reason why anonymity on the internet is harmful.  One can make a case that there are times when anonymity is essential to protect publishers from harm, but for the most part, it is better for people to be identified. However, it doesn't look like there will be a time when posters are required to let people know who they are, so victims of anonymous Tweets and other postings will remain in a perilous position. 


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