Tweets last forever……’s the proof

April 26, 2013 |

Recently the World Today the report UK youth commissioner under fire over foul tweets highlights the permanence of the cybersphere and what one in the full bloom of fiery youth may regret as the rules of polite society beckon.  Woad warriors could transform themselves into paragons of virtue pre internet.  Memories fade and plausible deniability is an active option. Now the the Net sets all matters in in cyber concrete.  This has had an impact lately on Paris Brown.

The story provides:

ELEANOR HALL: Teenagers are often warned about what they say on social media sites: that they could come back to haunt them in later life.

A young woman in the UK didn’t have to wait long.

17-year-old Paris Brown’s position as the country’s first Youth Police and Crime Commissioner has been put in doubt by the publication of a string of offensive tweets from her account, as Europe correspondent Barbara Miller reports.

BARBARA MILLER: Paris Brown was chosen from dozens of young applicants to be the UK’s first Youth Police and Crime Commissioner. Many no doubt were attracted in part by the more than $20,000 in salary on offer.

The role was to liaise between police and young people in the county of Kent in south-east England. Her apprenticeship was going well, until someone checked her Twitter account.

There they found racist tweets, homophobic tweets, ones that made reference to sex and drug-taking. Paris Brown says she is sorry for any offence caused on the now-deleted account.

PARIS BROWN: All teenagers make mistakes, all teenagers think at one point, oh I’m annoyed, write something stupid. If you look back at… I look back on our Facebook statuses or tweets that I wrote when I was, like, 13, and they’d just make you cringe. Not because they’re offensive, but because they’re just stupid.

And it is. It’s an age thing. When you are a young person, you do have views that you don’t really agree with yourself.

BARBARA MILLER: The 17-year-old says people her age sometimes tweet before thinking:

PARIS BROWN: Older generations haven’t grown around, grown up with Twitter, social media. They know how to sort of, maybe talk to other people about it, but for young people it’s different. We don’t want to bother people with your problems; you just think, oh I’m annoyed, tweet.

BARBARA MILLER: Paris Brown is adamant that she doesn’t hold the views the tweets appeared to represent.

PARIS BROWN: I’m not homophobic. (upset) I’m not racist. I don’t condone drug-taking. And I do not (upset)…I don’t want people judging me based on a few stupid things that I wrote which I didn’t mean, which were taken out of context, which were not meant as they are portrayed.

BARBARA MILLER: Questions are being asked about whether Paris Brown really is the right person for the job.

Labour MP Keith Vaz is the chairman of the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.

KEITH VAZ: Of course it’s refreshing to have people in these posts, and I congratulate Ann Barnes for thinking of having the post of Youth and Crime Commissioner, but I just question whether she did proper scrutiny, asked the right questions. These kinds of statements ought to have been dealt with before the appointment.

BARBARA MILLER: Kent’s independent police and crime commissioner Ann Barnes recruited Paris Brown.

She says she has no regrets.

ANN BARNES: I do not condone one single solitary word of these terrible tweets of Paris’. I’m as ashamed of them as she is and her parents are. But you know, she made them – a few out of 4,000 – horrible though they were, when she was 14, 15, 16-year-old. It would be awful for me to stop her having a life chance for something that was done when she was so young, and for which she is truly, truly sorry.

And I hope she really thinks seriously about what she’s done – well, I know she’s going to. And I don’t regret making the appointment, no.

BARBARA MILLER: Ann Barnes says it would be a sorry state of affairs if everyone’s future were determined by what they wrote in social networking sites between the ages of 14 and 16. She at least is prepared to give Paris Brown a second chance.

On Twitter, some users are not nearly so forgiving.

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