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Unpublished Paper
When Retweets Attack: Are Twitter users liable for republishing the defamatory tweets of others?
(2012)
  • Daxton R Stewart, Texas Christian University
Abstract

Under the republication doctrine, repeating false and defamatory statements has traditionally triggered liability for the repeater. However, some confusion has emerged regarding retweeting the posts of others on Twitter, the popular microblog site. Does retweeting the defamatory statement of another open the retweeter to liability? This article examines exceptions to the republication doctrine such as the single publication rule, the wire service defense, and the Communications Decency Act (CDA) to answer this question. A review of court opinions leads to the conclusion that Section 230 of the CDA provides a powerful shield for users of interactive computer services such as Twitter.

Keywords
  • Twitter,
  • libel,
  • Communications Decency Act,
  • republication,
  • defamation
Publication Date
2012
Comments
This is the "director's cut" of this paper, originally submitted to the AEJMC research paper competition in the Law & Policy Division in 2012. A shorter, revised version has been accepted for publication in the Summer 2013 edition of Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly.
Citation Information
Daxton R Stewart. "When Retweets Attack: Are Twitter users liable for republishing the defamatory tweets of others?" (2012)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/daxton_stewart/7/