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Facebook postings can have legal and even deadly consequences

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According to examples from one source, Facebook postings that resulted in legal and deadly consequences involved:

  1. A man who received a lifetime restraining order, after stalking a woman on facebook.
  2. A man who was jailed for seven days, after his wife placed a restraining order against him, and he added her as a friend on Facebook
  3. A woman who was murdered, after she agreed to go on an overnight camping trip with a stranger she met on Facebook.
  4. A man who killed his ex-wife, after she insulted him on Facebook.
  5. A woman who was killed by her ex-lover, after she posted information about their breakup and about her new relationship.
  6. A woman who was killed by her husband, after she posted information about their breakup on Facebook.

These are not isolated incidents of legal and deadly consequences. There are many other examples of such postings going wrong and resulting in everything from broken restraining orders, to breakups, to murder.

A Chinese proverb warns that we should never write a letter while angry. This warning is even more important when posting on Facebook. Although an impulsive, thoughtless letter will have a limited audience, a Facebook posting can reach a much wider audience and can have a greater chance of causing unintended consequences. Examples of this danger include actual episodes in which:

  1. Thirty armed women in Sacramento participated in a brawl that was sparked by a husband’s message on another woman’s Facebook page.
  2. Seventeen high school students’ Facebook pictures ended up on a porn site.
  3. A mother’s Facebook status cost her son’s high school team three victories, after it became obvious that her entire family did not live inside the county where her boys attended school.

One good practice is to let most postings stew for two days. Then, if they still seem to have no dangerous repercussions, it then is to safer post them. Pictures should be treated in a similar fashion. As Napoleon Bonaparte said, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.”

Author David Chiles had good advice when he said, “It is good netiquette to look for every opportunity to compliment others online.”

What stories have you heard about Facebook postings gone wrong? Please comment below.

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