Twitter ordered to disclose anonymous user’s identity in High Court

1 Dec 2017

Glasnevin Cemetery. Image: Yulia Plekhanova/Shutterstock

The Glasnevin Trust claimed that a Twitter user made a serious of defamatory statements.

The operators of Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery have successfully obtained High Court orders directing Twitter to reveal the identity of an anonymous account-holder who has made several statements that are allegedly defamatory in nature.

According to The Irish Independent, Justice Paul Gilligan granted the orders in favour of Dublin Cemeteries Committee, which trades as the Glasnevin Trust.

The trust owns and operates the Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, a popular tourist attraction in Dublin, as well as five other cemeteries. The trust had requested orders against Twitter to disclose the identity of a user with the account address ‘@Glasnevinexpose’.

The trust also requested the disclosure of IP addresses, postal addresses and email accounts linked to the Twitter account in question as well as the removal of posts uploaded by the mystery account.

SC for the Glasnevin Trust, Eugene Gleeson, said that between January and the end of March this year, posts appeared on the account that were damaging, defamatory and disparaging of staff members at the cemetery and the trust.

Twitter in a quandary

Twitter did not consent or object to the orders sought, but it did request that they be amended as the company was concerned about the removal of all of the material associated with the account. Counsel for Twitter said that the removal of the posts in the absence of any evidence that they were defamatory left the firm in an “impossible situation”.

Justice Gilligan said the remarks appeared to be defamatory and serious in nature, but the removal of the material would not be enforced until the identity of the user was revealed and the user in question was informed of the proceedings against them.

The Glasnevin Trust can continue with proceedings in terms of taking the posts down once the identity of the user is revealed.

Twitter has 21 days to comply with the orders, which are known as Norwich Pharmacal orders.

Glasnevin Cemetery. Image: Yulia Plekhanova/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects