A man has been arrested under the Malicious Communications Act and is awaiting questioning after posting a picture of a burning poppy onto Facebook this weekend, coinciding with the annual Remembrance Day events.
Posted alongside “an offensive comment” according to Kent Police, the 19-year old was arrested as his actions fell in line with the act’s guidelines for communications that are “indecent or grossly offensive, or which conveys a threat… provided there is an intent to cause distress or anxiety to the recipient”.
The arrest has not met with universal support however, with many taking to Twitter in protest. This includes Paul Chambers, who was at the centre of the Twitter Joke Trial who unwittingly caused a security scare for joking about blowing up an airport, resulting in legal action against him.
Chambers tweeted: “It’s time the authorities knew that dissenting voices are not arrestable #poppycock.”
Social media censorship and conservatism has been an increasingly hot topic for the likes of Twitter and Facebook this year, with high-profile cases such as the baiting of Olympic diver Tom Daley and the blocking of a neo-Nazi Twitter feed in Germany making the headlines.
Where do you stand on the Twitter/Facebook censorship row? Should social media be a safe-haven where all views, however controversial, are tolerated, or should these communication channels be more closely policed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
By Gerald Lynch | November 12th, 2012