Microblogging service Twitter is to open an office in London despite fears that a London address might bring the service under the thumb of British injunctions.
Meanwhile, the name of the footballer at the centre of the row who obtained a court order has been exposed as Ryan Giggs by Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, using parliamentary privileg. The footballer had obtained a court order demanding details of Twitter users who named him.
The head of Twitter’s international expansion Katie Jacobs Stanton revealed in February that the UK office had started but the “location of our Euro HQ is still TBD”. This followed on from the news back in December that Twitter executives were scouting potential locations for the site of a new European headquarters, with Prime Minister David Cameron pushing the case for London’s ‘Silicon Roundabout’.
Yet it remains to be seen whether the London office will be in the East End, or the media friendly West End. The official Twitter UK account for example has speculation as to the decoration of the local office.
Although firms like Google and Microsoft have large offices in London, many other US companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn and even Google opted to locate their European headquarters in Dublin, thanks to the low corporation tax there.
Indeed, London offices are typically used as sales and development sites.
Twitter’s first UK staff member has been named as Tony Wang. According to his “I work at Twitter doing deals” tag, it seems highly likely that Wang is a salesman.
He has tweeted that he is relocating to London from Twitter’s San Francisco office.
Other sales positions are also been advertised for London, lending credence to the UK office being a sales and development site only.
The decision for Twitter to open an London office could prove interesting however considering the strict libel and privacy laws in this country.
Earlier this month a Twitter user used the microblogging website to flout British privacy laws by tweeting a list of celebrities who – it was claimed – had taken out injunctions.
That leak was apparently designed to discredit the trend for celebrities who take out injunctions to protect their privacy. However, the list did have inaccuracies, after falsely naming a number of celebrities, including socialite Jemima Khan and TV presenter Gabby Logan, as being protected by injunctions.
And this weekend thousands of Twitter users tweeted the name of married premiership footballer Ryan Giggs. Previously referred to as CTB, Giggs had responded by to the initial leak with legal action against Twitter, demanding it reveal information on the “persons unknown regarding the publication of information on Twitter accounts”.
According to the FT, Twitter has declined to comment on the action.
The FT blog also quoted an email last Friday from Twitter’s VP of communications, Sean Garrett, who confirmed plans for the London office.
“We are still planning on opening a London office soon. We haven’t made any decisions on a European headquarters yet,” it said.
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