Mom Finds Out The Hard Way That Facebook Rants Can Be Illegal
Facebook seems like a wonderful utopia, where you can say anything that comes into your head because, after all, you’re in the company of friends. While I personally have always asserted that annoying Facebook practices like vaguebooking should be made illegal, I never fathomed that a judge would go so far as to ban a mother from ranting about her kids and ex-husband on social media.
The conditions of this case are certainly unique. A judge barred a woman from ranting about her children and ex-husband on Facebook as a special condition of probation after being sentenced for kidnapping her two children and taking them to Canada in 2011.
The kidnapping charges were later dropped:
The restriction came after the woman’s ex-husband’s family and Hunterdon County prosecutors argued that her Facebook postings were frightening, saying they referenced the Book of Revelation, serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer, Satan and Adolf Hitler.
“You can talk about what you want to talk about, but don’t reference (your husband) or the children,” the judge told her. “That’s off limits.”
The judge’s order sounds entirely reasonable, especially given some of the strange stuff that the woman was posting on Facebook. But that didn’t stop this mom hell-bent on trashing her ex-husband’s family and, I can only assume, comparing them to Satan and Hitler. In 2012, the mom was right back on Facebook— this time, using the code word “Camelot” to talk trash. This act violated her probation.
The mom appealed and claimed that the Facebook ban violated her rights of free speech and due process because the ruling was “too vague.” However, the court disagreed and upheld the special conditions of her probation to prevent her from posting such rants on Facebook again.
I have to say that while this case is disturbing on the part of a mother who can’t seem to grasp appropriate netiquette when referring to her family on social media, I also find it intriguing that a judge was able to successfully monitor her Facebook activity. I often joke and will continue to joke about how annoying Facebook behavior must become illegal for us to survive as a human race, but cases like this hit home.
Most of us use Facebook and social media regularly. While the majority of us may not go the extra mile to compare extended family members to Jeffrey Dahmer, it is certainly a reality check to witness the successful legal monitoring of Facebook posts. I personally support the judge in this case. Behavior on social media does matter and can cause serious repercussions, especially when children are involved.
(Image: Lisa S./Shutterstock)