Back in January, Fahmi Fadzil tweeted that a pregnant friend of his had been treated poorly by her employers at Female Magazine, which is owned by Blu Inc Media.
The magazine’s attorneys then threatened legal action and a settlement was reached whereby the matter would be resolved via Twitter, as Fahmi couldn’t afford to take out newspaper ads.
“The only demand is to tweet the apology 100 times for three days, and that will be the final and full settlement of this,” Fahmi said.
He began tweeting “I’ve DEFAMED Blu Inc Media & Female Magazine. My tweets on their HR Policies are untrue. I retract those words & hereby apologize” on Thursday morning.
“Under the settlement, I have been ordered to tweet the apology over the next three days and that works out to about one apology tweet every 35 minutes, and I will finish the tweets by 6:45pm on Saturday,” he said.
“So far, I have finished 13 tweets and have 87 more to go,” he added. His Twitter feed is at http://twitter.com/fahmi_fadzil.
Fahmi’s lawyer Syahredzan Johan says the settlement requiring posting to Twitter is the first of its kind in Malaysia.
“In terms of defamation, we are definitely entering uncharted waters,” he said.
“In terms of blogging, there have been cases of apologies on the net but this is the first of its kind in Malaysia in terms of tweeting an apology,” Syahredzan added.
“The only reason why this (Twitter apology) came about was because both parties agreed to it. At least this allows for a form of settlement — at least this is a way out.”
Malaysians are known to be social media fanatics. A study last year indicated that Malaysians are the most popular people on the internet, with an average of 233 friends in their social networks (compared with 68 in China and just 29 in Japan).