On Monday we reported that Wests Tigers rugby captain Robbie Farah was the recipient of vile tweets about his recently deceased mother. Farah approached Police and the Prime Minister to intervene and ensure that trolls were adequately dealt with and laws reflecting the use of social media were updated.
However, yesterday, Yahoo news reported that Farah himself had sent a questionable message to the Prime Minister. In something that may shock many people, a tweet from September 2011, which Farah had deleted soon after it was published, has been unearthed. The Yahoo report states:
New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell says he wants to work with the Commonwealth to send a strong message to people who harass others on the internet.
“I think it’s unacceptable, whether it’s a star footballer or whether it’s an average citizen out there, to get either racist, defamatory or other inciteful messages from someone who thinks they can do it anonymously,” he said.
“We are seeking a review of existing Commonwealth legislation to see what between the Commonwealth and the states we can do to close any potential loopholes that exist.”
NSW Police Minister Mike Gallacher says he will speak with police about cracking down on online abuse and agrees the Federal Government needs to intervene.
This case is a classic example of a digital footprint that cannot be ‘cleaned up’ just by deleting offensive tweets or posts. Once published, these posts or tweets can come back to haunt us.