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Say A Website Is Poor, Get Libel Threat

That’s right.  Luke Bozier voiced his thoughts about Gordon Brown’s website and found himself on the receiving end of a libel threat from Tangent, the company responsible for the former Prime Minister’s site.

Let’s look at what Luke said in a Tweet:

Gordon Brown’s WebCreator website is not befitting of a former Prime Minister. Tangent should be ashamed. http://gordonbrown.org.uk

And what he said on his blog:

I apologise if I’m blunt, but this website is not befitting of a former Prime Minister. It has an unprofessional feel to it, and doesn’t portray the image of a statesman and one of Labour’s biggest figures.

And you know something? He’s right.  The site looks like it’s a scrappily filled in template.  Let’s put the politics to one side here.  This is a former Prime Minister we’re talking about.  One would have expected his website to be slick, smooth, eye catching and vibrant.  The Fife Labour site to which Mr Brown’s site links is a whole lot better.  I’ve seen vastly better templates available in various places around the web.

The tone of Luke’s Tweet is not abusively critical.  The tone of Luke’s article is constructively critical and something that Tangent should look at and learn from.  But they didn’t.

Instead they chose to threaten someone who has done nothing more than cast a critical eye over Tangent’s work and has found it to fall short of standards he believes should be achieved.

What in Luke’s posts has been illegal?  Perhaps Tangent will be so good as to enlighten me and everyone else now following this story.

Luke updated his blog and Twitter to reflect this heavy handed attempted bullying and now the hashtag #offtangent is trending in the UK.  And deservedly so.  More bad news for them is that the well known legal blogger Jackofkent has got wind of this.  So if Tangent do decide to go ahead with their legal threat they can be assured of more publicity

I would strongly urge those responsible for Labour’s internet presences to review Tangent’s involvement, overall standard of websites they have created for Labour MPs and their conduct in this issue.

Just like Paperchase, Phorm, the British Chiropractic Association, Jan Moir and others Tangent will now find themselves getting plenty of adverse publicity for their attempt to bully Luke.  People are talking about Tangent and spreading the word about their lack of Clue.  Tangent should apologise now for their threat and they might be able to stop any reputational damage from spreading.  Tangent’s brand is taking a real slating.

There is nothing illegal about saying a website is poor.  In my opinion the website at gordonbrown.org.uk is poor.  I’d be hard pressed to describe it as anything beyond basic.  I have seen one or two worse sites in my time but I have seen many that are much much better.  I’m sure that Tangent can and should do better than this current effort.

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