So, I can understand why people were pleased to see Liam Stacey, the student who posted a nasty Twitter comment about Fabrice Muamba and replied in racist language to those who criticised him, go to prison for it. I can see why newspaper columnists have spent the last week cheering the sentence and the lost appeal.
What terrifies me is that people are nodding happily all over the country, pleased to see a clampdown on internet trolling at last, as if the exact content of the tweets doesn’t matter. It matters enormously. If we’re going to send someone to prison for saying something, we damn well ought to know what it is he said. Anyone who’s pleased to see a person jailed for a piece of writing, without bothering to seek out the precise words that were deemed illegal, should be ashamed of themselves.
April 9, 2012
So what did the troll actually say?