Could Amir Khan threaten freedom of speech on Facebook?

So, should we all be watching what we write in our blogs, on facebook, twitter and the many thousands of outlets available online?

It would seem so.

The Guardan reported yesterday that Amir Khan, the WBA light welterweight champion and Frank Warren are threatening legal action on Facebook for a failure to remove defamatory

The pair have engaged lawyers to threaten the US internet company with action over the use of images and names alongside material they consider to be defamatory and racist. Stephen Taylor Heath, head of sports and media at Lupton Fawcett, said that a cursory search of Facebook quickly led to “bogus” pages that used the images and names of the pair to link to material that would be “highly defamatory” if published in a newspaper or magazine.

Obviously, racism is a BAD THING and should be thwarted at all turns, and as a British Asian, Khan has a right to try and stop people being racist against him. This is without doubt.

But (and you knew there was gonna be a but) Khan is also a brand. He is not just a sports person but has been created, by Warren, as a marketable commodity. His threat to sue Facebook for not removing such bogus pages surely will have huge implications to the internet if he wins.

How far could this be taken? Consumers are forever writing derogatory remarks about products (or brands) that they don’t like, don’t agree with, have had bad experiences with. That’s why so many of us research online before any purchase, however large or small. Will this lead to companies suing individual users for regular bad reviews?

What with Google being forced to reveal the identity of the “Skanks in NYC” blogger and The Times’ failure to protect the police blogger Night Jack from the courts, this certainly feels like freedom of speech online can no longer be taken for granted.


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