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Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bigamy 'Wives' Meet on Facebook

I have spoken before about the legal dangers of tweeting first and thinking later –

But we still need to get this important message. Whatever is posted on Facebook or Twitter or anywhere else for that matter is read in the real world, by real people and can have real legal consequences. It never ceases to amaze me when people engage in very public arguments of Facebook. It is as though they want to make a point to a particular person but forget that their entire friend list is also in the audience!

I imagine that was the case when a Plaid Cymru councillor libelled an opponent on twitter and had to shell out over £50k in damages and costs last year, or when the young student mentioned in my pervious blog tweeted offensive comments and ended up behind bars.

It is as if there is a belief that Social Networking happens in a virtual world where no one gets upset or there is no comeback.

One person who should have taken more care is Mr. Alan O’Neil. He is facing bigamy charges in the USA. He was found out when his two wives discovered each other via the "People You May Know" feature on Facebook!

Now that is a very extreme combination of criminal behaviour, stupidity and bad luck.

But the message is still clear. Be aware that what you post can have serious consequences.

Which begs the question – is it worth it? Well I can’t talk with the amount of tweeting that I do! Social Networking is with us to stay and has changed the way we communicate. The important thing is to remember to take as much care with what we publicly post as we would if we shouted it out in a crowded bar. Or maybe take a deep breath and ask - 'Do I really want to repeat this in a witness box?'.

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