Monday 14 October 2019

Iona Institute academic suing Twitter for defamation

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Aodhan O'Faolain

An academic and part-time researcher with the Roman Catholic advocacy group, the Iona Institute, has brought defamation proceedings against Twitter over tweets which he claims defamed him.

The action has been brought by Dr Angelo Bottone, over several tweets which he says are untrue and defamatory of him made in October 2017 and which he claims he asked Twitter to remove.

The allegedly defamatory tweets were not taken down, resulting in Dr Bottone, of Chanel Road, Artane, Dublin, suing the social media platform.

Twitter denies it is responsible for any tweets that are allegedly defamatory.

Rossa Fanning SC, for Twitter, said his client is surprised it is being sued by Dr Bottone over the tweets, and it intends to rely on the defence of innocent publication.

Declan Doyle SC, for Dr Bottone, says Twitter cannot rely on that defence because of its refusal to remove the tweets following repeated complaints by his client.

The case was briefly mentioned before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds on Monday when Dr Bottone secured an order directing Twitter International Company to disclose to him details of the account holder, @ElodieBurke who he alleges defamed him.

The orders compel Twitter to provide Dr Bottone information disclosing the identity of the account user's name address, telephone number, e-mail address, IP addresses used to access that twitter account and other information Twitter holds relating to the user of the account @ElodieBurke. 

Dr Bottone says that he does not know the identity of that account holder, who he also intends to take defamation proceedings against. 

Twitter neither consented nor objected to the order being made, and Mr Fanning told the court that the information will be provided by January 11th next.

Counsel said that Twitter could not provide that information unless directed to do so by order of the court.

After making the order the Judge reserved the issue of costs to the hearing of the action.

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