The News of the World phone hacking scandal has certainly made the headlines this week and I am going to discuss my observations regarding the use of Twitter. Firstly, let me just say that I was shocked and outraged at the revelations leading up to the decision to print the final and last ever edition of the News of the World on Sunday 10th July 2011. The newspaper’s phone hacking activities certainly wasn’t news to anyone but when it emerged they also accessed the mobile phone belonging to Milly Dowler to listen to voicemail messages which they subsequently deleted, it sent shockwaves throughout the nation. Not only did they hamper the police investigation but they also gave the parents false hope that she may be still alive. Other nasty revelations followed which just incensed people even more.
Twitter is a fantastic source for real time news and gauging public opinion. It’s viral nature resulted in news regarding the above spreading quickly and it also led to people taking action. Hashtags such as #notw and #saynotonotw were being increasingly used by people to voice their outrage. It wasn’t long before a movement started and all the advertisers were targeted as shown in the pictures below. Advertisers on Twitter were suddenly inundated with messages asking them to consider their position. One by one, practically all of the advertisers were either pulling out completely or postponing their media spend until an enquiry took place. If you monitored these hashtags over the last few days, the activity was non stop. The News of the World found themselves under siege and the rest is history.
Was Twitter responsible for bringing down the News of the World? It wasn’t solely responsible but I don’t think there’s any doubt it played a massive role. Advertisers were forced to listen to public opinion and many quoted this as a reason. They have to look after their own interests and any association with the newspaper would have led to boycotts and their reputation being damaged. It is no longer difficult for a group of people to make their voices heard and Twitter can certainly facilitate the process.
So its goodbye and good riddance to the News of the World.