The legal dispute between Elon Musk and Vernon Unsworth, the man who helped to rescue boys trapped in a cave in Thailand, may have dropped out of the press over the last few weeks, but a recent case shows the lack of accuracy of Mr Musk’s assertion that Twitter was just the forum for a ‘schoolyard spat’ that would not be taken seriously by users who expect to read ‘opinion, not facts’.

The case involved a tweet made by the agent of a former chairman of UKIP in the run up to the last General Election. It showed a man said to be standing next to ‘child grooming taxi drivers’, the apparent inference being that he kept company with paedophiles. The High Court awarded the man £40,000 in damages.

In the circumstances, Mr Unsworth’s claim for $75,000 does not look excessive.

If you use social media, it is important to remember that publishing defamatory comments on the Internet can wind up causing a deep hole in your pocket.


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