Tom Daley Twitter troll arrested as Olympic critic suspended

Twitter is causing trouble at the London 2012 Olympics, as a teenage troll is arrested for abusing diver Tom Daley.

Twitter may be the official narrator of the Olympics, but it's already landed various people in hot water. A journalist has been suspended for criticising US telly bosses, a Swiss footballer has been sent home over racist tweets, and a teenaged troll has been arrested in Weymouth by Dorset police for abusing Tom Daley.

18-year-old English diver Daley, who in 2008 became the youngest ever male medallist in a world diving event, tweets as @TomDaley1994. After narrowly missing out on a medal yesterday he retweeted the insulting message, saying, "After giving it my all...you get idiot's sending me this..." and quoting a post from @Rileyy_69 that read "you let your dad down i hope you know that". Daley's father died last year from brain cancer.

After Daley highlighted the message, the offending tweeter sent a series of apologies, before telling Daley, "I've said I'm sorry now f*** off," and then referred to drowning the diver. The Twitter account from which the offending tweets were sent appeared to have been protected this morning, but is still live -- although it makes unpleasant reading. The 17-year-old behind the account was arrested this morning, apparently over the threat.

The arrest comes soon after the High Court ruled that the conviction of a Twitter user should be overturned, ending the so-called Twitter joke trial . The cases highlight the difficulty of judging tone on social networks, and shine a light on the amount of abuse aimed at celebrities and regular folk alike on social networks.

We have laws for libel, harassment and abuse, but it seems the legal system hasn't got to grips with Twitter and other online interaction. There are a lot of unpleasant people online, but should they be arrested? We wonder if this would have happened if Daley wasn't in the spotlight, and whether the story would have garnered so much media attention if didn't afford an opportunity to print a picture of the muscular athlete in his undercrackers.

Twitter bans critic of NBC

Meanwhile, the Twitter account of a British journalist has been suspended after he criticised coverage of the opening ceremony by US TV network NBC. Annoyed by the fact NBC wasn't showing the ceremony live, The Independent's Los Angeles correspondent Guy Adams posted the publicly available email address of the TV executive in charge and encouraged followers to tell him what they thought.

It appears Twitter contacted NBC about the message rather than the other way around, before suspending his account. Twitter's 'trust and safety' department have contacted Adams directing him to the site's terms and conditions. At the time of writing his account is still suspended. Adams disputes that he published private information.

Also at the Games, Swiss footballer Michel Morganella has been expelled from the Olympics after a racist tweet aimed at South Korean people, after South Korea knocked Switzerland out of the competition on Sunday.

Should the police get involved in Twitter spats? How do we distinguish between behaviour that's criminal or just crass? Tell me your thoughts in the comments, on our Facebook page or on Twitter.

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About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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