There’s no question that today is the age of social media. It certainly seems like all of your friends, neighbors, children and (horror of horrors) your boss and parents, have a Facebook account, a MySpace page, a Twitter handle or all of the above. As we all remember the incident which took place when two girls were arrested over their facebook post questioning the shutdown in the city for Shiv Sena patriarch Bal Thackeray’s funeral with the comment also leading to an attack on the clinic of an uncle of one of them by Sena activists. The two girls–Shaheen Dhada and Renu–were sent to 14-day judicial custody by a court before which they were produced on Monday but were granted bail within hours after they furnished personal bonds, police said. Dhada was arrested after she posted comments on the social networking site opposing the shutdown in Mumbai
People arrested for dumb social media posts kind of had it coming to them. From the teens who jokingly threaten lives on Twitter to those who took to Facebook to organize full-scale riots, all of these people have one thing in common: each were arrested for a common-sense-bending social media post.
In our world where Snapchats, Instagrams, Facebook posts, and Tweets spread information instantly, it’s entirely too easy for those who are dumb enough to put their death threats and otherwise unclean thoughts on the web for all to see. Unfortunately for them, social media is also a place where law enforcement monitors activity to catch just these kind of threats. So between the Dutch teen who jokingly tweeted a threat to American Airlines, to the sports fan who threatened to shoot his favorite British diver after he didn’t bring home a medal at the 2012 Olympics, to the Los Angeles man who asked for retweets to take out some innocent victims with his sniper rifle, there is not shortage of stories about dumb things posted on social media that led to arrests – sometimes, even years in prison.
Folks, the next time you make a social media post, be it about your excitement for a concert or your plans for your next vacation, take a moment to think before you press send. That moment of clarity might just keep you out of jail.
When Paula Asher disregarded a court order to delete an offensive Facebook post, a judge sentenced her a 2-day jail stay for contempt of court. The 18-year-old posted on the social media site about her reckless driving after she hit another car carrying 4 passengers. “My dumb (expletive) got a dui and I hit a car…lol,” she posted. She later apologized. “I didn’t think ‘lol’ would put me in jail.” Being smart on social media accounts is about using common sense. After all, most of us, if we did something stupid that hurt someone else would not be in any hurry to joke about it on our Facebook page. But in today’s society, where everything we do, say, eat or think about must be posted online for our friends to like and comment about, some things are better left unsaid.
It is certainly clear, however, that careless or foolish posts on your Facebook page or Twitter account can land you in some hot water, and lead to serious consequences in the future. As always, think before you post information to the internet.