Twitter messages have been deemed ‘public information’ by The Press Complaints Commisson, and can therefore be republished it has been announced.
The issue was brought to the commission after the Indepdent and Daily Mail both had published tweets from Sarah Baskerville, a manager at the Department of Transport.
Ma Baskerville had reportedly been criticising the government, and labelled the leader of a training course “mental”.
While at work she also tweeted: “struggling with a wine-induced hangover” and “feeling rather tired – would much prefer going home”
Baskerville claimed that the information on her Twitter site only was meant for her 700 followers, and shouldn’t be shared with the public,
The newspapers, however, didn’t agree stating that “the material could be read by anybody; she had not limited her Twitter account to those officially ‘following’ her.”
The PCC investigation came to the conclusion that the information posted by Sarah Baskerville on Twitter was in the public domain, meaning it could be republished and used by newspapers.
But this doesn’t mean that anything posted on social networks is fair game to use.
The PCC stated that it was important that the inclusion of online messages were of public interest and not “misleading or distorted”.