Twitter UK office could provoke future legal action

Lawyers believe that Twitter's plans to open up an office in London could force the social networking giant to comply with UK law in future. At present, the legal action taken against the company by the footballer at the centre of the super injunction scandal, is complicated - and the outcome unsure - because the site is based in California.

However, once a UK office is opened, future lawsuits could be brought against it this side of the pond.

Speaking to the BBC, Kim Walker, a partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, said that "opening an office in the UK would unquestionably make Twitter more vulnerable to lawsuits.

"The law enforcement authorities would be able to argue that it is Twitter UK which has been involved in the contempt of court or which has published the defamatory statement, so is directly responsible for the misdeed."

In short, a UK branch of Twitter would have to comply with any super injunction realised in UK courts. And could face action if one of its users breaks that legal restriction.

Twitter itself could argue that its London office is for sales and marketing in Europe only, but the courts are more than likely to dismiss that claim: "If Twitter has any assets in the UK - assets in this instance is a fairly loose term, and covers staff as well as buildings and equipment - then those would be at risk if it chose not to obey rulings imposed upon it by the High Court," said Walker.

Could we be about to see strict policing come to the social networking site? And, if so, will it retain its popularity? Or will it readily give up the details of anonymous users when asked? The plot thickens...

Would you use Twitter if you knew that your tweets were being policed? Or that you, yourself could be prosecuted for your words? Let us know in the comments below...



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