Anthony Weiner Considering Selling the NSFW Tweet as an NFT is Another Sign of the Times: eDiscovery Trends

Anthony Weiner is back!! At least in the news, if not in politics.  And he’s talking to The New York Times (no less) in an interview published earlier this week.  And you won’t believe what’s he’s considering doing relating to one of (because there are more than one, of course) his most infamous moments.

The article – Anthony Weiner’s Not Coming Back. But He Has Nowhere to Go., written by Ben Smith, details Weiner’s fall from grace and what he’s currently doing today.

Let’s face it – when someone applies the suffix “gate” to a story about you, that’s not a good thing.  In 2011, then Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), sent a NSFW photo posted via Twitter to a woman (not his wife).  Unfortunately, for Weiner, while he intended to send the “tweet” as a direct message just to her, he used the ‘@’ instead of the ‘d’ (to indicate a direct message) to reference that user.  As a result, the message was published to all his followers, not just the intended party.  Even if he had sent the direct message correctly, he used a public photo sharing service, yFrog, to share the photo, so if someone had chosen to browse through all of his photos, the photo would have come to light eventually.  The resulting scandal was dubbed “Weinergate” by some, “Twittergate” by others and Weiner was ultimately forced to resign from Congress.

Weiner tried to make a political comeback in 2013, running for mayor of New York City, but another sexting scandal (covered in a documentary of his campaign, no less) derailed that bid.  And then in 2016, it came to light that he was exchanging explicit messages with a 15-year-old girl, which ultimately led to a prison sentence and his laptop seized (which eventually was part of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails).

So, now, out of prison with no political options (or many other job options either), what is Anthony Weiner thinking of doing?  Per the article:

“He is thinking more seriously — really seriously — about the 2021 version of that transaction: getting into the booming business of digital collectibles, known as nonfungible tokens or NFTs, and starting with some of his own holdings.

‘If you do believe in this butterfly effect, I’ve got the butterfly’s wings and its antennas,’ he said. He could make an NFT, he said, of the errant tweet that began his long spiral in 2011. He could make an NFT of the search warrant for his laptop, or of the email his old friend, the comedian Jon Stewart, wrote to apologize for making fun of his troubles, or of the check that Mr. Trump wrote to one of his earlier campaigns.”

Alrighty, then!

Anthony Weiner was the topic of probably my first “Think Before You Hit Send” post about how easy it is to make a mistake in communications if you’re not careful.  I’ve covered many others over the years as well, some of which have even led to or influenced litigation.  And we have more ways to communicate than ever: email, text, voicemail or other audio recording, Zoom recording (of which we’ve seen several in the news lately), social media posts and collaboration app posts.  Many careers have been derailed by failure to think before hitting send across all of these communication media types.  It’s easy to treat these as casually as normal conversations, but it’s a bad idea.  Once it’s out there, you usually can’t take it back (even if deleted, someone may have captured a screen shot first).  So, here’s a reminder: Think Before You Hit Send.

I’d like to think that nobody would buy Anthony Weiner’s NSFW tweet if he made it available as an NFT, but it’s a crazy world we live in these days.

So, what do you think?  Have you ever sent a communication that you wish you could take back?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by my employer, my partners or my clients. eDiscovery Today is made available solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscovery Today should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.

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