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  • Sep 29th, 2013 @ 12:52pm

    This is Mark Leiser. AMA

    This is Mark Leiser. I am an avid reader of, although not a commenter on the TechDirt site. I have been sent this link by a friend and wanted to clarify some things posted here re #EasyJetGate.

    On a side note, some of you might find it humorous that prior to moving to the gate, I was working on a lecture this week on Cyber speech in the age of social media. But I digress.

    The general facts of this incident have been reported elsewhere, so I won't rehash them here. I just wanted to comment on some of the commentary made on this chain.

    I approached the counter to inquire about train times. There was not any anger or complaint about the delay. All i wanted to know was whether or not I would make the last train. The first girl I spoke to was very helpful and advised me that she thought the trains ended at midnight. She called another girl over and she too was initially very helpful. I have used discount airlines many times before, and am well aware of the rules. This was not a conversation laced with grievance, but was an inquiry. I asked what time the plane was due to land so I could make an informed decision. At some point the second girl said I wasn't the only one that had queries about times and there was a guy in the military who has missed his connection. There was no argument, no heated discussion, no debate. My last comment was, "I don't know if I am comfortable with that. I think I am going to see if I can get social media to help this guy out". Up until this point, I characterised the conversation as helpful, pleasant, and jovial. I walked away from the counter thinking nothing about the nature of the conversation with either of the girls at the counter.

    I milled about the waiting area and sent the first tweet. I got in the queue. While I was in the queue I took a photo of the large TV screen with the EasyJet logo. I sent it to several mates with the caption, "Woohoo. Off to London". There is nothing in the gate area to suggest that photographs are prohibited at the Gate 11 area.

    Shortly after this, the second girl informed me that the manager didn't want to let me on the flight because of "the comments I put on social media." While there is some debate about @easyjet monitoring social media for complaints, I have come to the conclusion that the girl informed her manager of my previously stated intention, although there is plausibility that the social media team monitored the tweet, or were informed of it. I can't come to that conclusion on its own.

    The rest has been well reported. I was pulled out of the queue. One thing that hasn't been reported, is that the second girl asked to see the tweet and told me not to delete it. I complied in letting her see the tweet and informed her I didn't plan on deleting it.

    I am also conscious of the fact that this has been framed in the concept of free speech. It is easier to conceptualize for most people than Regulation (EC) 261/2004. My last comment to the manager was "what about Free speech?", not EasyJet's articles. I didn't have them to hand, and I imagine most other travellers wouldn't either.

    There has been much speculation that I was disruptive in some way. I would be hard-pressed to imagine anyone thinking I was disruptive. I have asked EasyJet to locate and view the CCTV as part of their investigation.

    During my subsequent meeting the next morning, the tweets went viral. I had no less than 20 requests for interviews from media organizations. However, when I got back to Glasgow later on that day, I was informed EasyJet had been briefing reporters "off the record" that I had been disruptive. I was also informed that EasyJet had briefed that I had taken pictures of staff members and threatened to upload them online. I phoned the Head of Customers Service that had phoned me on behalf of EasyJet earlier Wednesday.

    I informed her of the claims by journalists and she said she knew nothing about this, and she would speak to the PR department. My belief is that EasyJet went silent in response to the fact that I had informed the customer service manager that PR department may have been making borderline defamatory comments to journalists up and down the country "off the record". I subsequently went "quiet" to let EasyJet get on with their investigation.

    Ultimately, I think the whole incident should raise a few alarm bells for businesses about how easy it is for criticism for go viral. If marketing departments are looking for the answer to what makes advertisements viral, maybe they will be an equal amount spent on "viral vulnerability"?

    I consider myself a passive member of the TechDirt Community and take umbrage at the suggestions that I was an "An elitist academic who feels entitled to hassle the serfs.". There was never any hassling. Of any kind.

    This is the last time I plan on commenting on the incident, although there is a pending story I am working for the Drum on what it's like being inside a viral story.

    Thank you to the TechDirt community for letting me clear a few issues raised on this chain.

  • Apr 1st, 2012 @ 10:27am

    who decides?

    Lets says this is the perfect bill? WE all agree with its merits and definitions of what the technology is... Who then decides what constitutes a repressive regime? Is it anyone that opposes Israeli domestic and foreign policy? Russia? Saudi? Or for once that we take authority from the UN? Or is it just going to be a quid prop quo thing again?