Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Woman Arrested for Poking Someone Else on Facebook—Seriously

October 13, 2009 by Rico Mossesgeld  
Filed under Services

A woman in Tennessee was recently arrested for poking someone else on Facebook. By doing so, Shannon D. Jackson apparently violated a restraining order that prohibited her from Dana M. Hannah. Violating this so-called “order of protection” is a Class A misdemeanor in the state—meaning the potential maximum sentence is “11 months, 29 days”, or barely below a complete year! All for clicking a link on a social networking website.

Proof of the alleged misdemeanor was a screenshot of said poke

Proof of the alleged misdemeanor was a screenshot of said poke

Technology and law traditionally haven’t meshed well together, as technology’s constant stream of new developments sometimes make the law’s adherence to the letter ludicrous. Stanford fellow Ryan Calo laid out the legal rationale behind the whole affair:

…it is still a form of communication restricted by a protective order.

“A poke is a very deliberate action,” he said. “You have to select the person and say, ‘this is what I want to do.’”

Advances in technology have expanded the spectrum of communication, from low-engagement to high-engagement ways of interacting with others, Calo said.

Fair enough, a woman goes to court and successfully gets a court order protecting her from further communication from an offending party, and that protection was violated. Getting arrested for poking someone else on Facebook sounds a bit rough, but there’s a lesson here: If someone hated or feared me enough to actually file a restraining order against me, I would simply delete him or her from my list of Facebook friends. Common sense people!


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