Woman sued for $50K over Twitter message

July 31, 2009 11:39:32 PM PDT
Sixteen words on Twitter is all it took for a woman to get slapped with a lawsuit. The plaintiff in this case is an apartment rental company which claims the woman's tweet was false.

MOST POPULAR: Video, stories and more
SIGN-UP: Get breaking news sent to you from ABC7

For one woman who lived in this Chicago apartment building, posting something on Twitter was her way of venting about her landlord.

She tweeted: "who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty thinks it's okay."

The tweet was intended for 20 of the woman's followers -- but somehow Horizon realty got wind of it, and they're now suing her for $50,000, claiming her tweet damaged the company's reputation.

Users of social networking sites ABC7 spoke to question the merits of such a lawsuit.

"I think that's what those sites are for. I mean, it's to get the public knowledge out there and what you think and it's opinions. I mean people put stuff out there all the time that not everyone agrees with but it's freedom of speech," said social networking site user Suzanne Henricksen.

Twitter's spokesperson at the company's San Francisco office had no comment.

But many legal experts believe the lawsuit likely won't get anywhere -- that many companies sue only to try to clear their names.

Still, Nicole Ozer of the ACLU says there's a lesson to be learned from this.

"There are many people out there who tweet on a regular basis and have never made their profile private, and they probably never read the privacy policy. So people really need to think before they tweet," said Ozer.

And people ABC7 talked to say they do try to be careful when writing on social networking sites.

"There are certain things that people should keep to themselves and they should keep that in mind," said social networking site user Vince Orias.

"I think you need to take the utmost care with what you put out there because it's your own expression," said social networking site user Christian Henricksen.

The defendant's Twitter account has since been closed. Experts say while this may be one of the first few cases of its kind it certainly won't be the last.

       Today's latest headlines | ABC7 News on your phone
Follow us on Twitter | Fan us on Facebook | Get our free widget


Load Comments