“@2helpmehelpyou” had no Twitter following to talk of when he tweeted one thing nasty about Captain Tom Moore, the hero centegenarian who recently died of Covid after raising millions to fight the disease. However police within the UK quickly arrested him for the offensive remark and boasted about it to the press, so now tens of millions of individuals worldwide have learn the unlawful phrases “The one good Brit soldier is a deed one, burn auld fella, buuuuurn.”
The case is a pointy instance of the Streisand Effect, the place censorship solely attracts extra consideration to the problematic materials at hand. Nevertheless it’s additionally an instance of one other phenomenon, the place vanishingly obscure materials—and legal guidelines that oblige police to police it—may be deliberately exploited to justify consideration given to a topic. On this case, the unhealthy tweet is now a prop in fights over Scottish independence [Twitter], free speech [Daily Mail], nationalist appropriation of Moore [The Guardian], and each conceivable topic upon which it touches.