Twitter blocks Irish journalist over tweet from Daniel Kinahan’s ‘drug lord’


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A criminal reporter working for an Irish newspaper has been banned from his Twitter account after a complaint was confirmed for sharing a photo of Daniel Kinahan with UFC fighter Darren Till.

John Hand, chief reporter for the Irish Mirror, was forced to remove the photo and text referring to Mr Kinahan as a ‘drug lord’ before he could access his Twitter account again.

He believed that someone unknown on Twitter, via an anonymous account, had complained about the tweet. This complaint was confirmed by the social media company and Mr. Hand was denied access to his account until he deleted the tweet containing the photo and text.

“I was surprised, especially when I realized that it was likely that an anonymous account holder had made this complaint. Then the complaint is accepted and a reporter is kicked from their account until they delete a post or appeal. Calls can take weeks and until then you can’t access Twitter at all, ”Hand said.

He added that a number of newspapers reported on the photo over the weekend, with those stories being shared via Twitter, apparently without incident.

“If my tweet violates Twitter’s privacy policy, do those weekend tweets, linked to stories with the same image, violate the policy as well? It just doesn’t make sense.

“How can an anonymous account holder, a faceless person, ban a journalist working with national media from accessing their own social media account?” Mr. Hand said.

The Irish Times is awaiting Twitter comments on the incident.

Mr Hand said if he had not deleted the photo he would have remained excluded from his account, which he depended on for his work. He would not have been able to post tweets, contact people through direct messaging, or access Twitter to view or search for other users’ tweets.

Mr Hand said that because Twitter had not specifically told him which aspects of his tweet violated their privacy policies, it was virtually impossible to knowingly appeal.

The tweet he shared last Friday contained Mr Kinahan’s photo with Mr Till and stated that the photo was taken in Dubai that day and referred to Mr Kinahan as a “drug lord”.

Mr Kinahan was named by the Criminal Assets Bureau as evidence in the High Court as the leader of an international drug gang and one of the main protagonists of the Kinahan-Hutch gang feud.

Mr Till is a professional UFC athlete from Great Britain and there is no suggestion that he is involved in any form of crime.

Mr Hand made no remarks about Mr Till in his initial tweet other than that he was pictured with Mr Kinahan in Dubai, the same information the British athlete had himself published on Twitter and which remain available.

Mr Hand said he shared Mr Till and Mr Kinahan’s photo last Friday and continued to use Twitter without incident over the weekend.

However, when he took to his account on Monday morning, he was able to see a Twitter notice informing him that his tweet from last Friday, containing the photo of the two men and a text, violated his privacy policies.

Mr Hand was told he would remain blocked on his account until he either removed the photo or appealed Twitter’s decision against him following the complaint. Mr. Hand deleted the message with the photo and was granted access to his account again. He then tweeted the story he wrote last Friday about the photography.

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