Social media beats super-injunction, again

03 February 2010

It’s not for us to judge England and Chelsea footballer, John Terry, or that French lady or anyone else involved. We’re more concerned, here, with what the latest failed super-injunction means for communications teams and corporate reputations.

We don’t know what we don’t know, so it may be that super-injunctions are very successful in preventing the publication of a story, at the same time as preventing a story being published about the aforementioned story that is being prevented from being published – if you follow. However, first Trafigura and now John Terry have found they did not work and perhaps regret spending the money on one.

Two things have come together to foil these two super-injunctions. Firstly, people love to share information. If it’s secret and bad (Trafigura) or has gossip value (John Terry), well, that’s even better. Secondly, in the past it would have been all but impossible to insert information into the national consciousness without involving the media. Now it’s the work of seconds for anyone to write 140 characters on Twitter, press go and have the news trending within the hour. Social media was the reason behind our two super-injunctions failing so spectacularly.

With that in mind, corporations (and footballers on which England’s World Cup hopes hang) need to consider well all their actions and not do something they would be uncomfortable defending sometime in the future. Refreshed that CSR policy recently? The moment you feel the need to call in the lawyers to defend your reputation in relation to something that you almost certainly did, in light of these events, you might consider yourself skating on thin ice.

Leave a Reply