Rupert Murdoch Attracts Controversy On Twitter

Media mogul Rupert Murdoch has become the latest public figure to join the Twitter bandwagon.

The chairman and CEO of News Corp has attracted over 90,000 followers since he joined the micro-blogging website, but reaction to his membership has been mixed.

Polarising Figure

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott alluded to the phone hacking scandal of last summer, while numerous Twitter users have made their feelings towards Murdoch clear.

Murdoch’s tweets have proved to be a magnet for controversy, including one which stated, “Maybe Brits have too many holidays for [a] broke country!” The tweet was subsequently deleted, but reposted by several users, who also noted that he was on holiday in the Caribbean.

At the time of writing, Murdoch was following just seven other users, including businessman Lord Sugar, Zynga co-founder Mark Pincus and Twitter executive charman Jack Dorsey.

Murdoch has posted on a number of subjects, including his view on Steve Jobs’ biography, movies and political views, reserving praise for New York mayor Mike Bloomberg and Scottish first minister Alex Salmond.

Murdoch’s News Corp suffered a miserable 2011, during which The News of the World was closed, after its staff were accused of hacking into a number of voicemail accounts, including those of celebrities, dead soldiers and murdered teenager Milly Dowler. The corporation subsequently failed in its attempts to acquire full control of British broadcaster BskyB.

Murdoch will also hope that his latest foray into social media will fare better than News Corp’s acquisition of MySpace for £371 million in 2005. The social network’s popularity plummeted as a result of competition with Facebook and was sold to a consortium including  Justin Timberlake last year for a reported £22 million.

Celebrities have been attracted to Twitter as a way of connecting to fans and promoting their products, however it has also proved to be a double-edged sword. Users protesting against the use of super injunctions by famous figures expressed their feelings by “outing” those celebrities on the micro-blogging site.

Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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