Sunday, 17 May 2009

The power (and danger) of Twitter

The Guardian report that:
"Police in Guatemala have arrested a Twitter user and confiscated his computer for "inciting financial panic" after he urged people to remove funds from a state-owned bank.

Jean Anleu Fernandez, 37, was handcuffed, fingerprinted and jailed for posting the 96-character message on the micro-blogging site earlier this week. It is thought to be the first such case in central America.

Police raided the information technology worker's home in the capital, Guatemala City, on the orders of the public ministry division in charge of banks, according to local media.

The head of the banking system, Genaro Pacheco, said Anleu admitted sending a single Tweet about Banrural, a bank at the centre of a murder mystery which has engulfed the government in a political storm.

Anleu, who on his blog says he loves books and "geek stuff", sent the message on Tuesday using his online name "jeanfer". It said: "First concrete action should be remove cash from Banrural and bankrupt the bank of the corrupt." The message ended with the tag "£escandalogt", an online term for the political scandal.

Inciting financial panic is an offence in Guatemala which like much of Latin America has a history of economic volatility. The IT worker is due to be held in jail until payment of $6,500 fine after which he will be placed under house arrest pending trial."

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