The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
… To see how bad things have got, consider three cases from the past week alone:
A man has been investigated by the police for a hashtag he used on Twitter. Seriously. Never mind speechcrime, or even tweetcrime—now we have hashtagcrime, the criminalisation even of those snarky, ironic asides people pepper the internet with. The man in question, Stephen Dodds, committed the sin of taking a photograph of two Muslims praying at Anfield, the home ground of Liverpool Football Club, and posting it on Twitter alongside the tweet: "Muslims praying at half-time at the match yesterday. #DISGRACE." That hashtag saw him become the victim of a furious Twitterstorm, the modern version of a tomato-wielding mob, and he was eventually reported to the cops. They investigated the matter for two weeks—two weeks!—before finally instructing Liverpool FC to take appropriate action against the evil hashtagger. Liverpool this week said it is deciding how to punish this man who dared to type the word "DISGRACE" on the internet….