Judge Forces Twitter to Turn Over Protester’s Tweets

July 9th, 2012 by

Twitter admissable in courtA judge in a case involving an Occupy Wall Street protestor required Twitter to turn over three months worth of tweets by an individual who posted them to the Twitter website.

The man had been arrested after a march on the Brooklyn Bridge where the crowed illegally ventured onto the roadway. The prosecutors hoped to show that he did indeed know that it was illegal to be on the roadway via his tweets.

Said the judge, according to Time Magazine, “If you post a tweet, just like if you scream it out the window, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy.”

We agree here 100%. Twitter is a public platform unless you choose to “protect” your tweets, which means they are private.

Step Ahead Social Research uses a proprietary software system that works with Twitter and has access to Twitter’s “firehose” (meaning all of their public data) going back to 2008. With a judge’s approval, we could have easily pulled that data for them without having to go to Twitter directly. Twitter data is not indexed in Google any longer, however, one could go back and search Twitter for 30-60 days though their search function does not work optimally. The attorneys were looking for data back to December 2011.

We’re glad the judge ruled tweets admissable in court, because unless they’re “protected” we maintain that is public data. Anyone should remember when posting a tweet, don’t post it if you wouldn’t be comfortable with the world reading it!

Read more about the case.