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Harm someone with a tweet? Apologize with 100 more

In what could be a precedent-setting settlement, a Malaysian man who defamed a business on Twitter agreed to apologize 100 times over the span of three days on the same forum to make amends.

According to the Guardian, Fahmi Fadzil had tweeted that his pregnant friend had been mistreated by her employer – and then went on to name the employer, BluInc Media. Mr. Fadzil, a social activist and political aide, has more than 4,200 followers.

BluInc Media, miffed by how many people potentially saw the negative tweet, had its lawyers send Mr. Fadzil a letter demanding damages and a newspaper apology.

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He settled with the company to correct his error where it had taken place: on Twitter with 100 apology tweets. Call it social media community service.

It's not the first time a party has called foul over defamatory tweets, but resolutions have mostly been carried out the old-fashioned way.

Earlier this year, a British politician who allegedly released a defamatory tweet about a rival was forced to tweet an apology but also pay 3,000 pounds in damages, according to the BBC.

In Australia, according to the Canberra Times, a newspaper editor has threatened to sue an academic who posted critical comments he claims are unfounded on Twitter.

He was apparently seeking financial damages. The dispute has been dragged out over several months without resolution and in the mean time, the editor has drawn more attention to the affair because of the lingering threat of legal action. Clearly he's never heard of the Streisand Effect.

The always-colourful performer Courtney Love made up for her Twitter sins (allegedly slamming a fashion designer) this spring by paying the designer $430,000 in damages, Rolling Stone reports. Not bad at all.

Could social media community service take off as the go-to way of resolving Twitter or Facebook defamation cases?

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If you were defamed in the Twitterverse, would you rather the perpetrator make it up to you with a big, fat cheque or in a series of apology tweets?

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About the Author

Dakshana Bascaramurty is a national news reporter who writes about race and ethnicity. She won a 2013 National Newspaper Award in beat reporting for her coverage of changing demographics in the 905 region. Previously, she was a feature writer for Globe Life. More

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