Speculation over the identity of the professional footballer who is taking legal action against Twitter reached new heights today as hundreds of users of the micro-blogging site claimed to know his name.
The married star, who is referred to as CTB in court documents, is said to have had a “sexual relationship” with Big Brother’s Imogen Thomas.
He obtained an order preventing The Sun newspaper from revealing his name last month and has now launched proceedings against Twitter and “persons unknown” after users claimed to have identified a number of individuals said to have taken out gagging orders.
But the legal bid led to one player’s name being mentioned on Twitter at a rate of up to 16 times a minute.
Lawyers at Schillings, who represent CTB, said: “An application has been made to obtain limited information concerning the unlawful use of Twitter by a small number of individuals who may have breached a court order.”
The impact of Twitter has fuelled the privacy debate and highlighted the problems associated with enforcing injunctions. The list of celebrities has reportedly been seen by an estimated two million people.
Lawyer Mark Stephens, who does not represent anybody involved in the case, said documents were filed at London’s High Court on Wednesday.
Schillings said the footballer’s action did not amount to suing Twitter.
While the player could potentially sue the “persons unknown”, he is unlikely to be able to take the same action against Twitter which does not fall within British jurisdiction, Mr Stephens said.
“If you want to sue Twitter, you have to go to San Francisco,” he added, referring to the company’s headquarters in the US.
“Any attempt to enforce English privacy or libel law will not be accepted in the USA.”
A Twitter spokesman said: “We are unable to comment.”