Watch What You Re-Tweet

You are what you tweet. We have seen horror social media stories and people tweeting irresponsibly. But never seen a re-tweet horror. Don’t worry we have our first re-tweet casualty, at least outside of China.

A South Korean man faces jail term for re-tweeting a North Korean tweet.

Two things were new to me. The first thing is you can be detained and face a jail term for a simple act of clicking something. The second thing is there are no books in North Korea but apparently there’s Twitter.

South Korea’s Park Jeong-Geun has been detained for re-tweeting a North Korean tweet, which had potential implications to South Korea’s national security. Park was doing it only in good humor, he says. Even Amnesty International agrees that the charges are “ludicrous.” South Korean authorities didn’t think so.

Wish There Was an App for That

With this incident the case for Twitter’s supposed censorship vis-a-vis transparency gains more weight. Before you tweet, maybe there should be a message displayed saying that this tweet originated from so-and-so country, and asking whether you are sure you want to do this. In countries like South Korea, maybe the message doesn’t have to be that subtle. “This is a North Korean Tweet. You could go to prison. Is it worth it? Click Yes or No.”

But none of that is really possible, because as it stands Twitter is taking a reactive approach and not a proactive approach. That’s where apps like Tweetdeck (which has apparently been bought by Twitter) and such like come into picture. All Twitter apps should build a country of origin filter into their twitter stream to prevent slip-ups like the Korean case. As I don’t expect Twitter to implement this ever. Twitter typically relies on its ecosystem to come up with innovations and if they are pretty, then Twitter just buys them. (Read : Is #twitter too lazy or too smart?)

It used to be that we were warned to watch what you tweet. Now it has come to watch what you re-tweet. Now that’s miserable. In my earlier post about Twitter’s censorship and its potential with China, I advised everybody to just Re-Tweet. I take that back.

What was the tweet anyway?

Long Live General Kim Jong-Il

Who knew South Korean authorities didn’t have a sense of humor?