Hyde, the police spokesman, called for a “common sense” approach by police confronted by a Twitter threat. On the same radio program, Steve Evans of the Police Federation, which represents all police officers in England and Wales, noted that forces have another motivation not to overreact to Twitter. “The sheer scale of it is huge,” Evans told Today. “Police resources are stretched almost to breaking point, so if we started trying to investigate every instance of stupidity within Twitter, then we would be really pushed.”

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Hazel Sheffield is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @hazelsheffield.