Top 10 social media slip ups

As if Labour hadn't brought enough problems on itself by the time of last year's general election, one MP chose to leak the results of postal votes for the Bristol East constituency via Twitter.

The message was retweeted by 5,835 of her followers and the electoral commission threatened Kerry McCarthy with a 5,000 fine or six months in prison.

McCarthy is still tweeting today, no doubt with a tad more care than before.

2. Contempt of court case

Whilst the Facebook case in 2008 was serious, this week's revelations of a juror contacting a defendant became big headline news.

Joanne Fraill contacted Jamie Sewart after the latter had been acquitted in a drugs trial in Manchester. Other defendants were still on trial, however, and the case collapsed.

Fraill ended up admitting contempt of court and Lord Judge told her to expect a jail sentence.

What you say online can have a serious real-world effect. Remember that and you could save yourself a lot of trouble.

1. The bomb threat that never was...

Undoubtedly one of the most incendiary cases in Twitter's history involved a man named Paul Chambers.

Chambers was preparing for a flight from Robin Hood airport in Yorkshire, becoming increasingly worried and angry about delayed flights as a result of snow. He went on Twitter and joked about "blowing the airport sky high" if it stopped him meeting his girlfriend over in Northern Ireland.

What happened afterwards angered many, not just Chambers himself. He was arrested by anti-terror police, received a criminal conviction and was banned from the airport for life.

Chambers received plenty of support via Twitter as he attempted to appeal against his conviction. Thousands of tweeters posted word for word the message which got him in trouble, adding the hashtag #iamspartacus in a vote of solidarity.

Whatever your opinion on what happened to Chambers, it's clear jokes sometimes don't go down too well on Twitter. Some advice? Don't crack risky jokes on social networks maybe stick to quips about aeroplane food or British weather.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.