A Twitter ban at the royal wedding? Tripe

Some reports assert that police, coordinating with the royal family, will block any attempt by guests to tweet their gushings. However, it almost certainly isn't true.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Tomorrow, the world will witness one of the most beautiful and joyous anachronisms known to humanity.

A royal prince will marry his commoner bride, as tears are shed from London to Liverpool. Clockwise.

And yet reports have emerged that the likes of the Norway's king, Australia's prime minister, David Beckham, Sir Elton John, Guy Ritchie, Joss Stone and Mr. Bean will be prevented from letting the world instantly know their own feelings. (If you need the full guest list, it's here.)

For Yahoo itself has reported that a Twitter blanket is being thrown around Westminster Abbey, scene of the betrothal.

Yahoo said it has received confirmation from the baton-wielders at the British police--who are working in concert with the royal family's wishes--that blocking technology will be employed from early tomorrow morning. The purpose is to prevent anyone with a surreptitious iPhone or Galaxy Pad from informing the galaxies of the paroxysms of joy being experienced.

A sample of the #royalwedding tweeting. Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Initially, it was thought that guests would merely be told that it would be highly impolite to do anything technological during the ceremony. And, despite Yahoo's reporting, it may well be that this is just a ruse to prevent any untoward beeping phones or tweeting peeps. I can find no specific mention of what blocking technology might be used, or how far it might extend.

Indeed, CBS News is reporting that the Metropolitan Police maintain that they have no official policy on mobile communications around wedding and that no restrictions have been issued. Metropolitan Police spokesman Eddie Townsend told CBS News: "The story is not true, rubbish."

Likewise, the Telegraph reportedly quoted a police spokesman as saying the story is "absolute garbage." And the Register, too, has determined that the Yahoo report is balderdash. The Register says it has spoken with different baton-wielders, who said that such a blanket would be, well, illegal. It seems that the only place it may be legal in the U.K. to jam signals is in jail. Marriage is, of course, a confinement of an entirely different nature.

Moreover, the Register says that the operator O2 is actually preparing additional base stations to cope with demand.

It is true that the royal family has been in something of a forbidding mood in the run-up to the event. It has already reportedly prevented an Australian satirical show from putting its own spin on wedding footage.

But Twitter is bursting at its hinges with excitement. It currently has a promoted #royalwedding hashtag (promoted by whom?) that is filled with gushings such as "Can't wait to see the Royal wedding dress. What celeb designer would YOU choose to design yours?"

Not to mention the highly optimistic: "I'd be a lot more interested in this royal wedding if one of them were elected #royalwedding #justsaying."

It would surely be an act of arrant meanness to prevent access to the instantaneous outpourings for which Twitter has become famous. Lay people worldwide will be emoting beyond the boundaries of reason. And Twitter itself has released a natty photo of its own Biz Stone preparing the servers for the inevitable train of tweets that will fill its electronic aisles.

For myself, I look forward to learning from, say, a politician, a cleric or a retired general that they are dying to go to the loo or that the king of a neighboring country seems to have been at the absinthe.

That's what Twitter's for. Let's not fight it. Twitter now has an empire more significant than the one the Brits pillaged and squandered. Surely, if it is not given full voice, it will start one of its characteristic rebellions.