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The following story came to us from a NineMSN Staffer in Australia. It highlights not only why you should pay attention to what you put out there on social media, but also that there are people watching what you Tweet, and put on other social media sites. The USA is very sensitive about security issues, and as the following story shows, even a joke or a throw away line can land you in serious trouble.

Social Media is worldwide. As is true when doing business internationally, when posting on our social media sites, it stands us in good stead to be culturally sensitive, and aware of who may see what we are posting.

By ninemsn staff:

“Two British tourists were stopped from entering the US and held at the airport after they joked on Twitter they were going to “destroy America”.

Leigh Van Bryan, 26, was handcuffed and held in a cell with Mexican drug traffickers for 12 hours after arriving at Los Angeles airport with his 24-year-old friend Emily Bunting last Monday.

Mr Van Bryan had been flagged as a potential danger by the Department of Homeland Security after he tweeted his friend days before he left the UK, the  Daily Mail reports.

“Free this week, for a quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?” he wrote.

But when the pair arrived in the US, they were both detained by armed guards.

US officials ignored the protests of Mr Van Bryan and Ms Bunting, who tried to explain that “destroy” was British slang for “party”.

They were held for five hours on suspicion of planning to “commit crimes” and had their passports taken away.

Van Bryan was also questioned about a separate tweet, in which he quoted US comedy Family Guy.

“3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA p—ing people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!” he wrote.

Officials searched through their luggage, reportedly looking for spades and shovels, saying Ms Bunting was planning to act as Mr Van Bryan’s look out while he raided Monroe’s tomb.

“It’s just so ridiculous its almost funny but at the time it was really scary. The Homeland Security agents were treating me like some sort of terrorist,” Mr Van Bryan said.

The pair spent 12 hours in separate cells — Mr Van Bryan was locked up with two Mexican drug traffickers — before they were sent home via Paris.

The pair must now apply for visas from the US Embassy in London before flying to America again.”

Here is a link to the news story in another publication:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/30/british-tourists-deported-for-tweeting_n_1242073.html