An apologetic tweeter

A Malaysian social activist will apologise 100 times on Twitter in an unusual settlement with a magazine publisher in a defamation case, reports The Guardian.

[…] Fahmi Fadzil, an opposition politician’s aide and respected commentator on social issues, claimed on Twitter in January that his pregnant friend had been poorly treated by her employers at a magazine run by BluInc Media.

Fahmi wrote an apology to BluInc on Twitter a few hours after making that allegation, but the company’s lawyers later sent him a letter demanding unspecified financial damages for defamation and another apology in major newspapers, said Fahmi’s lawyer, Syahredzan Johan.

Syahredzan said Fahmi settled the case this week by agreeing to apologise 100 times over three days on Twitter, where he has more than 4,200 followers. Syahredzan declined to say who suggested the terms.

[…] Syahredzan said it was believed to be the first settlement involving the use of Twitter in a Malaysian defamation case.

Fahmi’s follower count has increased, as you’d expect, now more than 5,200 (including me) as I write this.

It’s an interesting idea: focus your apology to a community that’s connected to you – your followers on Twitter – rather than using the traditional mechanism of a mainstream media apology that broadcasts your apology to millions, most of whom could care less. More importantly, perhaps, connecting this to an online social networking community gives it traction to spread via sharing opportunities and others adding their perspectives.

It also adds to the tweeter’s social graph and, actually, may help improve his online reputation purely because of what he’s doing and the way he’s doing it.

A very different approach to settling a legal dispute. I’d say worth considering in some celeb legal cases involving Twitter here in the UK.

It’s a bit like community service, as The Guardian notes a blogger as saying. The screenshot above is of Fahmi’s 54th apology tweet. Only 46 to go…