June 20th, 2013

What You Can and Cannot Say on Twitter

The CPS have released their guidelines on what you can and cannot say on Twitter before getting a knock on the door from the cops. On the banned list are:

  1. Communications which may constitute credible threats of violence to the person or damage to property.
  2. Communications which specifically target an individual or individuals and which may constitute harassment or stalking within the meaning of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.
  3. Communications which may amount to a breach of a court order. This can include offences under the Contempt of Court Act 1981, section 5 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992, breaches of a restraining order or breaches of bail. Cases where there has been an offence alleged to have been committed under the Contempt of Court Act 1981 or section 5 of the Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act 1992 should be referred to the Attorney General and via the Principal Legal Advisor’s team where necessary.
  4. Communications which do not fall into any of the categories above and fall to be considered separately (see below): i.e. those which may be considered grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false.

And crucially:

Against that background, prosecutors should only proceed with cases under section 1 of the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 where they are satisfied there is sufficient evidence that the communication in question is more than:

Offensive, shocking or disturbing; or

Satirical, iconoclastic or rude comment; or

The expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion about serious or trivial matters, or banter or humour, even if distasteful to some or painful to those subjected to it.

See the guidelines in full here. Prosecution face…


  1. 1
    Snag says:

    “False”. Yeah, I’d like to see them enforce that.


  2. 2
    Morgan's Organ says:

    CPS says we dont want to hear a Tweet from you!

  3. 3
    Mud Pie says:

    That’s Clear then.

  4. 4
    Islander says:

    Prohibition 5: Tweets that may distract you from your proper job of being Prime Minister.

  5. 5
    Carry Hole is a porcine homunculus says:

    I find restrictions on truthful things I can say, such as Mohamed was a pp43dophile, to be grossly offensive.

    Can someone put in a complaint for me?

  6. 6
    Silly, Silly, Silly. says:

    “grossly offensive, indecent, obscene or false”

    Are very dodgy areas and mean different things to different people.

    This simply only makes things worse as far as the law goes.

  7. 7
    Chuka? says:

    So if a Politician Tweets something that is false, the CPS will prosecute him?

  8. 8
    Robbo says:

    So can you just call someone a c**t?

  9. 9
    Sally Bercow says:

    But I do have an innocent face.

  10. 10
    CPS says:

    Yes, unless it is a politician you are tweeting as that would be defamation of character, as a c**t is usefull.

  11. 11
    Cut out the shit this is what they really want says:

    *You cannot tweet anything which a bed wetting liberal may find offensive.

  12. 12
    1984 says:

    And they call that freedom of speech?

  13. 13
    Joe says:

    Best just shutdown your twitter account.

  14. 14
    Snag says:

    The CPS are off to arrest Alan Sugar after he “falsely” tweeted that Arsenal conceded a goal in their match vs Newcastle.

  15. 15
    CIA says:

    We want to know how that Limey has the technology to produce a home made device which will blow up a whole airport.

  16. 16
    Gordon Brown says:

    Laugh,I pissed myself when I saw this.

    GOLD 1,288.10 -85.50 -6.22%

  17. 17
    Mark says:

    This is the wrong road to be going down, all of these anti-free speech laws need removing ASAP.

    Who do I vote for to get that?

  18. 18
    Axe The Telly Tax & Religion & Kill All Ecoloons says:

    So if i tweet that 2+2=5, i’ll be arrested. LOL

  19. 19
    Muzees get a free ride, apparently says:

    Well, Anjem Choudrhy, who the lefties never dare to condemn for his tweets inciting violence against women, J*ws, gays and non-muslims, breaks practically all those rules on a daily basis, so why haven’t the fucking plod arrested the p*edo worshipping c-unt?

  20. 20
    Peter Martin says:

    Vague law is bad law.

    Like too many, there seems enough for it to be what they want it to be, depending on who they decide to take to task… or not.

  21. 21
    Lord Wabbit says:

    Bunneez will carry on fearlessly insulting da filthy, stinking europigs and taliban loving traitors like Cameron & Obama and filthy islamist scum. Mullah Omar has sex in pig’s bottoms!

  22. 22
    Call me Dave says:

    I hear no tweeting when playing angry birds !

    Is there a volume control?

  23. 23
    TPA says:

    none of them.

    even UKIP are ‘free speech’ but only if we agree with you types.

    they’ll be looking up anyone who they think is lefty or a muslim in minutes.

  24. 24
    PC Plod says:

    Satirical false and rude, ARREST HIM!

  25. 25
    CPS says:

    Unfortunately the data protection act prevents us from answering this question.

  26. 26
    Tony Soprano says:

    Where’s googootz, Clegg? Tell him he owes me my fuckin’ money! And if he doesn’t square it with me today, I’ll take him to Satriales and use the meat grinder with the help of Big Pussy and my nephew Chris.

  27. 27
    George Osbrown says:

    Whats the problem with that?

  28. 28
    George Orwell says:

    I warned you all.

  29. 29
    r supward says:

    any MP who has nothing to hide. in other words, your f*****!

  30. 30
    Rotherham Council says:


  31. 31
    Gordon Brown says:

    Looks good to me.

  32. 32
    Axe The Telly Tax & Religion & Kill All Ecoloons says:

    Heading for sub $1000 by years end.

    I remember Guido saying he was still long on gold @ $1700 and telling us all to buy gold & tinned food. LOL

  33. 33
    RIP Tony says:

    Can’t they make it law to arrest any politician tweeting RIP when a famous person dies?

  34. 34
    genghiz the kahn says:

    Caption contest.

  35. 35
    Barack Ubumma says:

    Hey George sorry about the other day, my bad.

  36. 36
    Acleron says:

    So the CPS are going to be arresting all the alt-medders who advertise on Twitter. That should be fun.

  37. 37
    PC Plod says:

    False, ARREST IT!

  38. 38
    George Gideon Oliver Osborne says:

    I’m not doing too bad either old chap.

    FTSE 100 6202.77
    -146.05 -2.30%

  39. 39
    Sally Bercow says:

    Nice Bristols, but I prefer my Huddersfield.

  40. 40
    CPS says:

    Or using the word brave more than once a year

  41. 41
    George Carlin says:

    Would anyone care to tell me the Twitter version of the Seven Words You Can’t Say On TV? It would certainly be a help– God forbid we accidentally tweet one of them!

  42. 42

    So was St Augustine of Hypocrisy.

  43. 43
    Braveheart was Welsh says:

    Yes but……but……can we still take the piss out of the welsh and jocks?

  44. 44
    smoking joe says:

    The comunest party

  45. 45
    Pedofile says:

    muslim you must be joking

  46. 46
    Ivor Biggun says:

    You don’t get many of them in a Bristol £.

  47. 47
    Axe The Telly Tax & Religion & Kill All Ecoloons says:

    Or “lessons have been learned”

  48. 48

    LoL. Alistair Graham on the Today Programme this morning pulled the rug on that excuse with rgard to the CQC. Will we see an unravellling elsewhere. i doubt it.

  49. 49
    BoJo says:

    Get real

  50. 50
    Ed Smallband says:

    Like a smacked arse

  51. 51
    Joe Bloggs. says:

    Good grief, in the real world I can see many schoolchildren being investigated for bullying and threats with bodily and mental harm on the misuse of the social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter. Also I see that any monitoring entity will need to know an ever changing language used by differing age groups and social strata. The onus should be on Twitter and Facebook to monitor and ban some words and report misuse of their systems.
    Children can be unbelievably cruel to each other, and make most adults seem almost civilized.
    Of course many of our liberal politically correct teachers such as in NUT(S) turn a blind eye to it and “do not want to get involved” – that is if they have taken the time to understand the language.
    In the same manner parents do not believe their children act this way, so that generally only the victims and sometimes their parents that feel the full effect of this cruelty.

  52. 52
    Vick says:

    Growing by the day in the oh so tolerant West.

  53. 53
    The Crown says:

    We have determined that this Tweet is not only ethnically offensive to New Jersey Guidos, it is also in extremely bad taste and meant only to inflict mental cruelty upon the late James Gandolfini’s family in their hour of grief.

    Hence our decision to prosecute.

  54. 54
    Snotsicle says:

    They should have stuck to the spirit of Twitter and condensed the guidelines to 140 characters or less.

  55. 55
    Vick says:

    Or “Lets be clear”

  56. 56
    Barack O,Baumma says:

    No only the religion of piss.

  57. 57
    NHS Chief Executive Murderer says:

    Let’s be clear, going forward, lessons have been learned.

  58. 58
    albacore says:

    As if. More money for the legal snakes
    And the CPS playing ducks and drakes
    And 3 a m visits from squads of Plods
    For the malcontents and just silly sods

  59. 59
    USA Today - non partisan version says:

    Bernanke stating he may curtail or stall the buying of bonds and QE the cause?
    He has stated he feels the USA is recovering, even in Detroit?
    Well it is not an election year so Obama must be really feeling the hurt that US general public disatisfaction is creating for him to yet again strong-arm Bernanke.

  60. 60
    Your Friendly Neighbourhood Bien-Pissant Service says:

    If George Carlin is to be trusted, you can take the piss outta them, you just can’t take a piss on them.

  61. 61

    If I say you are all a load of white bastards reading this, then presumably that would be OK.

    However, if I were to say that you were a load of black bastards reading this, then one presumes that would be regarded as offensive.

    Have I got that right?

  62. 62
    I P A Greene-King says:

    Bristol mayor considers low-emission zone.

  63. 63
    Foreign Observer says:

    Strange man in green trousers, too thin to be a real golfer, inspecting some local overdressed trollopes’

  64. 64
    End Impunity says:

    So can we say that the CPS are fucking useless – so useless that in a third world country their uselessness would bring to mind the excuses available for political bias and endemic corruption.

  65. 65
    CPS says:

    Pretty much spot on.

  66. 66
    Pundit too too says:

    Nice to know only one person approves of Balls

  67. 67
    Pundit too too says:

    You could even say yellow but probably not brown.

  68. 68
    Carry Hole is a porcine homunculus says:

    Doesn’t that imply that being black is offensive?

  69. 69

  70. 70

    Thanks for that. Just as I thought.

    It is not against the law for me to think I want to cause damage to (let’s pick one at random) Ed Balls, is it?

  71. 71
    For once, this dirty raghead says something I can agree with. Fuck all muzees! says:

  72. 72
    Pope Innocent Face says:

    George faces the knockers (Remix of old private eye gag of yesteryear)

  73. 73
    The Peoples Assembly says:

    Liquidation Wave Sweeps Globe In Bernanke Aftermath


  74. 74
  75. 75
    CPS says:

    In this case so long as you actually fulfil your desire then no as it would be in the nations interest.

  76. 76
  77. 77
    A Civil Servant says:

    It is not just legal, it is your patriotic duty. However, you should not act on your thoughts without having filed a proposal in triplicate with the appropriate Balls Damaging Licencing Authority at least 28 days in advance, appending a full Environmental Impact assessment and the correct £76.00 fee.

  78. 78
    A bed wetting liberal says:

    That’s deeply offensive. You made me cry?

  79. 79
    Obama says:

    ich bien ein beach towel

  80. 80

    Oh dear! Had you not qualified your statement and simply confirmed that I was free to think about doing what was proposed then I might have said I was thinking about causing damage to Ed Balls (let’s not beat about the bush any more!)

    Now, due to this complication, I shall have to go and seek further advice before I even think anything. :-)

  81. 81
    Alan Johnson says:

    2+2 is 1st class recorded.

  82. 82

    Only if you wear a certain type of suit.

    No. No. No. That sounds awfully hackneyed.

  83. 83
    NHS Untrust says:

    Nothing to hide and nothing to fear.

    Though nothing to fear is because we paid people off with million quid gagging clauses.

  84. 84
    Nervous Tweeter says:

    Can I say that Alex Cameron is the best QC ever?

  85. 85
    Abbotty says:

    If only the headline and the story had some connection.

  86. 86
    Keitho says:

    We do not have freedom of speech and haven’t really had it since Churchill was the boss.

  87. 87
    Hargaret Modge, Labour MP and Hypocritical serial long term aggressive Tax Avoider + expenses thief says:

    Well that takes all the fun out of it.

    Gordon Brown’s a retarded one eyed scottish idiot……it’s the right thing to say. Mind you he does make Ed’s Balls look good and that ain’t easy.

  88. 88
    Taxfodder says:

    Twitter = utter tripe… Face book = A snoopers paradise

    Never had them don’t need them…indeed there are more than enough wankers trying to tell you how to think, run your life what to say and what not as it is…

    Ignore them and quietly do as you please…..that is if you have a life.

  89. 89
    Universal Hiss says:

    Dark suit with brown shoes. Now that’s offensive.

    BTY you can’t call me a Jock bastard.That’s race hate.

    I’m quite happy with bastard.

  90. 90
    Village Idiot says:

    … A straw boater,striped waistcoat,a cane and white lipstick,with a song,may be frowned upon,methinks?

  91. 91
    Anonymous says:

    Imagine there are two *identical* comments in some famous person’s timeline that the famous person finds so offensive that they draw attention to the comment by re-posting it One comment is from a person in the UK and the other from the US.

    The person in the UK could be prosecuted. The person in the US would not and their comment would not even be deleted (unless blocked by the famous person).

    So what does prosecuting the person in the UK achieve, other than waste police time and court time, and potentially waste a prison place that could be better used for someone who’d comitted criminal damage or theft or assault (who at the moment probably get off with a caution or an ASBO).

  92. 92
    Anonymous says:

    That they are making such a drama about releasing names suggests to me there is an awful lot more to come than we realise

  93. 93
    I am a Hamburger says:

    Is Twigg a stalker ?

  94. 94
    Old Blind Pugh says:

    Geedo, you maybe guilty of 2,3,4 but not number 1 your window lickers will do that

  95. 95
    Old Blind Pugh says:

    Wasn’t St Augustine a good Roman Catholic man

  96. 96
    Burgers and lawyers are exceedingly bad for you says:

    WTF doesn’t Kier Starmer and his merry band of deluded misfits stop all this effing nonsense and get on with processing real crime – like prosecuting thieving MPs and criminal ex-prime Ministers and cohorts?

  97. 97
    Burgers and lawyers are exceedingly bad for you says:

    = shut up and don’t do it – or else?

  98. 98
    Burp says:

    Easy – just shake a bottle of Tizer – then duck.

  99. 99
    Burp says:

    The Fed, Like the Bank of England, is a PRIVATE bank which the markets should just ignore.

  100. 100
    Mesa Pete says:

    Reform Section 5:-

    57 Public order offences

    (1)The Public Order Act 1986 is amended as follows.

    (2)In section 5(1) (harassment, alarm or distress) for “, abusive or insulting” in the two places where it occurs substitute “or abusive”.

    (3)In section 6(4) (mental element: miscellaneous) for “, abusive or insulting” in the two places where it occurs substitute “or abusive”.

    Well that worked well then. The CPS guidance is now broader and more ambiguous than the section amended.

    Is that a parting gift from New Labour’s DPP?

  101. 101
    Matilda says:

    Let us hope so. These filthy stables need a bloody good clear out from top to bottom. All we really need is a few dozen battleaxe type Matrons to sort it all our over a weekend.

  102. 102
    Matilda says:

    You have just given us the perfect description of a lawyer.

  103. 103
    Matilda says:

    Time you lot knew the difference between ‘prosecute’ and ‘persecute’.

  104. 104
    Matilda says:

    But what exactly is that man at the back in red carrying? Looks like 2 frozen salmon to me.

  105. 105
    1955 humour says:

    That’s what Phil the Greek said one day as he was flying over London in a helicopter, “If I can’t reign over them, I might as well piss over them”.

  106. 106
    Brixtern is bestest trash says:

    .. along with a flashy watch and a trashy tie?

  107. 107
    Brixtern is bestest trash says:

    Getting warmer!

  108. 108
    Just an ornery expat says:

    If Dinabott had the ability to read and remember, she would know that this was entirely expected as bankers deferred their bonuses to this year when the 5% reduction in tax was implemented. Any sensible person – and not only bankers – should have done exactly the same thing.

    Just how do these fucking brainless fat balck idiots get themselves voted not only into Parliament but also get awarded a Shadow Ministerial portfolio?

    Glad I emigrated 15 years ago, so none of it concerns me – but I do worry for my relatives that chose to stay behind in that cess-pit of a country.

  109. 109
    Matilda says:

    At last he appe*rs to be beginning to understand.

  110. 110
    The interweb says:

    Only if he can also be scrubbed at the same time.

  111. 111
    Evenin' all says:

    All this just shows that the CPS is way over-staffed and have FAR too much spare time on their hands. Maybe the solution is to dispense entirely with their “services” – thus saving a few tanker loads of tenners in the process – and reverting to the old method where the plod concerned do the prosecuting themselves.

  112. 112
    Evenin' all says:

    … who should be prosecuted himself for misfeasance in a public office.

  113. 113
    DR says:

    Does this mean I’ll get done for threatening by tweet to bang my head against a brick wall, regularly across the day?

  114. 114
    The BBC causes Serious Mental Illness says:

    Firstly: The CPS can go fuck themselves.

    Secondly: Twitter is a shit platform.

    Thridly: How on earth can you legislate or prosecute for making false statements, unless those statements are to the police as part of an ongoing investigation ?

    Finally: The BBC are shit.

  115. 115


    Starmer is a Hunt. IMHO opinion that is :)

  116. 116
    Liar.Politicians says:

    How do these “laws” work when we’re constantly being harrassed and abused by politicians on every single evening news?

  117. 117
    alexei says:

    4. seems a catchall and leaves things another legal nightmare.There are so few expletives as it is.

  118. 118
    broderick crawford says:

    coz he provides them with a daily quota of sixteen vestal virgins ,,,, fresh from the white slavery soukh.

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