The Day Twitter Destroyed a Gagging Order

A gagging order designed to target mainstream news titles has been undone by the concerted efforts of Twitter users.

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

What a morning it has been. The phrase “historic moment” is desperately over-used, but it genuinely feels like one just occurred. A very old media process happened – a company got a gagging order on a national newspaper, to try and quash a negative story about them. And a disparate, disaggregated group of individuals were able to work out the basics of what happened, and use Twitter to make the gagging order meaningless.

Trafigura trending on Twitter in 2009

That was mass, connected journalism at its finest. Here’s the rough sequence of events:

For those cynics who want to suggest that the sudden attention brought to the company on Twitter had nothing to do with the final outcome, Rusbridger’s opinion might be worth noting.

UPDATE: Useful background on the story over on

UPDATE 2: Fantastic piece of aggregation from Joanne, linking to coverage of Trafigura all over the web.

X (Twitter)crowd-sourced journalismalan rusbridgerengagementJournalismThe Guardiantrafigura

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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.