A Malaysian social activist is probably going to feel a little déjà vu: He'll spend the next three days tweeting 100 identical apologies. It's the unusual settlement in a defamation case with a magazine publisher, and it has sparked debate among Internet users about the pitfalls of social media in Malaysia, where authorities have repeatedly warned people to be more cautious about what they write on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. Fahmi Fadzil tweeted in January that his pregnant friend had been poorly treated by her employers at a magazine run by BluInc Media.
Fahmi wrote an apology to BluInc on Twitter a few hours after making that allegation, but the company's lawyers later sent him a letter demanding unspecified financial damages for defamation and another apology in major newspapers. Fahmi settled the case this week by agreeing to apologize 100 times over three days on Twitter, where he has more than 4,200 followers. The lawyer declined to say who suggested the terms. The tweet reads: "I've DEFAMED Blu Inc Media and Female Magazine. My tweets on their (human resource) policies are untrue. I retract those words and hereby apologize.” The series of identical postings started today, and have been repeated about every 30 minutes. "First time witnessing a `community service sentence' on Twitter," one blogger wrote. "Will this be something common in future years?"