Should the Digital Realm Have Regulations?

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Last week came the shock news that Ryan Babel, the Liverpool and Netherlands star had been fined a large sum of money for posting photo shopped pictures of referee Howard Webb wearing a Manchester United shirt on his Twitter feed. While the extent of Babble’s punishment comes as a surprise, it is not as if this kind of thing hasn’t been brewing for some time. Kevin Peterson was banned from using Twitter this year, the same fate befell golfers at the U.S Open.


Babel is just one in a long string of celebs who have suffered at the hands of various governing bodies, just like I used to suffer when I got my hands stuck in coffee machines all the time. It seems unfair that professionals like Babel, just because they are in the public eye, have restrictions placed on their free speech. If you or I published the same photo, we certainly wouldn’t suffer the same fate, so surely the regulatory bodies that pass on the fines need to somehow designate who is and isn’t a celebrity.


The Office of Fair Trading seem like the best organisation to deal with this, and rumours are that they are developing a digital arm Hotpoint washing machines. It seems only just that an independent, centralized body should handle these matters and the story holds relevance, particularly when we remember that advising regulations are about to come into effect for all digoital advertising, that is, adverts found on websites and mobile apps.


Babel will certainly be dismayed at the rash reaction to what was tantamount to a harmless joke and it has been rumored that his move out of the UK to German club Hoffeneim, located near a factor where the iPod is made, is as a direct result of his online activities, a clear sign that the digital sector is crying out for governanace.


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