TWITTER HAS BEEN BANNED...well for some well known sportsmen at least. No this isn't the latest clampdown from communist China, it's the Premiership's very own Manchester United riling against social networking.
The football club have taken control of Twitter accounts belonging to Ryan Giggs, Darren Fletcher and Wayne Rooney, while Facebook accounts for Rio Ferdinand, Wes Brown and again Ryan Giggs have also been commandeered.
A message on the club's site hammers home the new attitude to web networking. "The club wishes to make it clear that no Manchester United players maintain personal profiles on social networking websites. Fans encountering any web pages purporting to be written by United players should treat them with extreme skepticism."
Rio Ferdinand still seems to have an official looking Myspace page available. If anyone's interested in either Ferdinand or Myspace anymore that is.
So why the clampdown? Players revealing club secrets? Unlikely; that's nothing that zealous fan sites don't eventually mine out anyway. More likely, the clubs want to ensure maximum traffic hits their own homepages. Why would fans go through a third-party when you can interact directly with the players themselves through social networks?
Still, some clubs aren't so fussy. Take Sunderland for instance; Darren Bent's Twitter account has 30,000 followers, and often reveals some interesting details about the player, including his struggles with former club Tottenham Hotspur.