Legal action for harassment on Twitter
If you suffer harassment on Twitter and wish to take legal action against your harassers, you will need to follow these steps.
It is important to differentiate between harassment and a legitimate public debate as often on Twitter the two issues tend to get mixed up. As a rule of thumb, if you engage with the Twitter post, this will be most likely considered as participation in a public debate. For this reason, you should never reply or engage with your Twitter harasser as the court will be reluctant to intervene in what the court may consider as a legitimate public debate. So the volume and nature of the Twitter posts might support a case for harassment but if you engage with at least some of the posts, this may position your case as a case of legitimate public debate rather than harassment.
Doxing often involves the accumulation and the publication of private information where those involved in the doxing create a new form of data that includes private information about their victim. This may be true even if the information has been collected from public sources. Doxing may be considered harassment as well as a breach of the privacy of the victim and a breach of the victim’s data protection rights.
To take out an injunction against a Twitter harasser, you will need to present a reasonably good case that will show, first, that you are being harassed and, second, that the person you are accusing of harassment is in fact your Twitter harasser. If the court is convinced that you are being harassed, you may be granted an injunction to prevent harassment of yourself.
In most cases, before you can start a court case of harassment on Twitter, you will need to approach the perpetrators with a letter before legal action, which would set out their wrongdoings. The court is unlikely to grant you an injunction if you haven't given the harasser notice of your intention to take them to court. However, this step might not be necessary in cases where the most significant element of the harassment involves the threat to publish private information about you on Twitter. In such a case, you will probably not want to give your Twitter harasser any prior notice about your intention to seek an injunction to prevent the publication of the private information.
More often than not, the person who is harassing you on Twitter will use a pseudonym so you will not know what their real identity is. You will therefore need to find out who your Twitter harasser is, before making an injunction application to the court. To do this, we will need to take steps to identify your harassers. This will involve making an application to the court and to Twitter to allow Twitter to release to us all the information they have pertaining to the identification of your trolls.
Before making the application for a disclosure order, will need to gather the evidence, linking each of the harassers to the relevant Twitter posts. Essentially, there are two parts to the evidence gathering stage. The first is to show that you have been harassed and the second, is to focus on each of the harassers and the parts they played in harassing you. We will then communicate with Twitter to seek disclosure orders through the court, which will, hopefully, help us reveal some of the identities of your Twitter harassers. Once we have identified your trolls, we will need to write to them and put them on notice of our intention to take them to court. This letter is effectively a harassment warning that gives your harasser an opportunity to cease and desist their harassing activities.