Ilse's weblog of random thoughts

How a jeweler censored Twitter

On his blog, Flemish Koen Delvaux tells the story about how a jeweler threatened to bring him to court unless he deleted a twitter message. A few days later, the story is becoming a hit on Twitter, and numerous people are retweeting the original – now deleted – message or posting a link to the above mentioned blog post. The story is even picked by foreign newspapers like De Telegraaf.

Its started a month ago, when Delvaux’s wife went to a jewelry store in my birth town Tienen to get her watch fixed. The shop keeper had a look at the watch, concluded that it was broken, and advised her to buy a new one. At home, her husband was not convinced, opened up the watch, put in a new battery, and the watch worked fine again (and still does). Upset by the behavior of the jeweler, who in Delvaux’s opinion just wanted to take advantage of the ignorance of a customer and sell a new watch, Delvaux writes a tweet, and because he only has 140 words, keeps it short and simply calls the shopkeeper a ‘villain’ for trying to sell a new watch while he himself seems to be able to fix the supposedly broken one without any problem.

After he got a phone from the police stating that he would be persecuted by the jeweler if he didn’t remove the tweet, Delvaux wrote the shop keeper a mail explaining what had happened that day and why he wrote what he did, but up until now he didn’t receive an answer. Although it’s very unlikely that he would be convicted for just writing his opinion on Twitter, he deleted the tweet, but instead wrote the full story on his blog.

It’s a sad day when shop keepers start to censor Twitter. It seems that lately freedom of speech is getting more than one blow in Flanders. This last year, several magazines, like HUMO, were ordered to take all the copies of an issue out of the store, because it supposedly contained slander about a person.  And just like in these magazine cases, it seems that the shop keeper only made things worse by censoring the message. If he hadn’t done that, I and many other people would never have heard about Delvaux’s story, since I don’t follow him on Twitter. By forcing him to delete the tweet, the story of what happened is now being spread by other tweeple, and more and more are reading about it. And I can’t imagine that being good publicity for the shop.


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  1. * Barbara says:

    I’ve had better luck when having problems by first seeing if they’re on Twitter and contacting them. Truth is, it’s the first time we have a resource for sharing our angst over corporate issues and having companies worry about how they’ll look. Long overdue.

    In one case, huge telecommunications company had not responded for 15 months to mess they left in my yard digging up box on neighbor’s property. Contacted via Twitter; fixed in two weeks.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 7 months ago

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