The catfish, spies and regulators who changed social media

Reblogged from The Conversation.

It was an extraordinary year for social media. We saw sites such as Twitter shift from being a fun pastime to a fundamental part of life. The change might not have been unexpected but each time a new incident occurred online, lawmakers and service providers alike scrambled to bring in new rules and amend old ones. Surprised, no, but unprepared, yes.

Even before 2013 started, the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service launched a three-month public consultation in an effort to help it grapple with the problems involved in trying to prosecute cases involving communications sent via sites such as Twitter. No one could have predicted some of the bizarre, scary and at times tragic incidents that would characterise the months that followed. Here are some of the social media characters we met along the way. Continue reading