Guess What? Your Tweets Aren’t Private Unless They’re Private

File under “duh“…

The UK newspaper business, via its self-regulator the Press Complaints Commission, has effectively raised the middle finger to a government worker who had complained that newspapers’ republication of her tweets invaded her privacy.

Back in November, the Daily Mail and Independent quoted tweets in which Sarah Baskerville, AKA @Baskers, criticised government policy, appeared to support the Labour party and admitted to being hungover at work, the Department of Transport.


Baskerville lodged two separate complaints with the PCC, citing breach of privacy and inaccuracy.

But, in its first such ruling about Twitter, the PCC, said it was upholding neither: “While it was true in theory that anybody could view the information she had posted online, she argued that she had a ‘reasonable expectation that my messages…would be published only to my followers’.”

Indeed, the PCC, which many regard as an ineffective regulator because it is operated by publishers themselves, issued a news release stating:

“The complainant had taken no steps to restrict access to her messages. It was quite clear that the potential audience for the information was actually much larger than the 700 people who followed the complainant directly. Republication of material by national newspapers, even though it was originally intended for a smaller audience, did not constitute a privacy intrusion.”

Here’s where Twitter tells you about private accounts.

At last count, @Baskers had 20 social media profiles.