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Staying Safe on Social Media

We are living in the digital age. Technology is a part of everyday life, and so is social media. We use social networking platforms to relay our emotions to our friends, or foes, particularly when intoxicated. But do you know the real cost of posting inappropriate, offensive, rude, or provocative messages on sites like Twitter and Facebook? If not, read on…

You only need to send a total of two messages for your behavior to be marked as harassment. But you only need to send a single tweet or Facebook status update to be sent to jail. Take the following examples:

• A male student in Wales was arrested and jailed for a total of 56 days after posting racially offensive comments on Twitter.
• An 18 year old female became the first person ever to be jailed doe bullying on Facebook in August 2009. The offender posted death threats to a classmate and was sentenced to a total of 91 days in a young offenders institute following her actions.
• A 33 year old man was jailed for 1 year and 243 days after harassing his ex-wife on Facebook. He pretended to be a woman and set up fake accounts in an attempt to become her ‘friend’ on Facebook. He then used these profiled to post photos intended to insult his ex’s boyfriend. The posts did not involve violence, or threats of violence, but the harassment was enough to see the offender sent to jail.
Sentences for activity social media vary from 6 months to ten years for the most severe cases, so next time you decide to vent your emotions on your chosen social media account, we recommend that you stop and think about the potential implications of what you’re about to say.

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Staying Safe on Social Media

  1. 1. SOCIAL MEDIA and the law These days social media forms part of our everyday lives and using it to relay our emotions, particularly when intoxicated, could result in very serious consequences. Sophie Murray Senior Associate & in-house Barrister Posting messages or tweets which are offensive, rude, or designed to provoke a reaction can lead to sentences varying from 6 months in prison for cases that go through to the magistrates court, to 10 years in prison for serious cases where there have been threats to kill. You only need to send 2 offensive messages for it to be considered harassment.. The date the first ever person was jailed for posting death threats on Facebook. The 18 year old female was sentenced to 91 days in a young offenders institution. 20 August 2009 Sophie Murray Senior Associate & in-house Barrister A student was jailed for 56 days after posting racially offensive comments on Twitter A 19 year old male was jailed for 84 days after posting explicit comments and jokes on a missing child’s Facebook page. ? A 27 year old male was arrested after tweeting a “joke” airport bomb threat, frustrated by delays Two males in their 20’s were jailed for 4 years after creating a Facebook event encouraging a riot A juror was jailed for 60 days after posting a Facebook status that found him guilty of contempt of court. A 33 year old man was jailed for 1 year and 243 days after harassing his ex-wife on Facebook The Law 1 127 Improper use of public electronic communications network A person is guilty of an offence if he- a Sends by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character; or b causes any such message or matter to be so sent. 2 A person is guilty of an offence if, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another, he— a sends by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that he knows to be false, 3 A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale, or to both. c persistently makes use of a public electronic communications network. b causes such a message to be sent; or My advice would be to stop for a while before you post something and think seriously about the implications of what you plan to say Sophie Murray Senior Associate & in-house Barrister Sources: The Guardian | BBC News | Metro | The Crown Prosecution Service

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We are living in the digital age. Technology is a part of everyday life, and so is social media. We use social networking platforms to relay our emotions to our friends, or foes, particularly when intoxicated. But do you know the real cost of posting inappropriate, offensive, rude, or provocative messages on sites like Twitter and Facebook? If not, read on… You only need to send a total of two messages for your behavior to be marked as harassment. But you only need to send a single tweet or Facebook status update to be sent to jail. Take the following examples: • A male student in Wales was arrested and jailed for a total of 56 days after posting racially offensive comments on Twitter. • An 18 year old female became the first person ever to be jailed doe bullying on Facebook in August 2009. The offender posted death threats to a classmate and was sentenced to a total of 91 days in a young offenders institute following her actions. • A 33 year old man was jailed for 1 year and 243 days after harassing his ex-wife on Facebook. He pretended to be a woman and set up fake accounts in an attempt to become her ‘friend’ on Facebook. He then used these profiled to post photos intended to insult his ex’s boyfriend. The posts did not involve violence, or threats of violence, but the harassment was enough to see the offender sent to jail. Sentences for activity social media vary from 6 months to ten years for the most severe cases, so next time you decide to vent your emotions on your chosen social media account, we recommend that you stop and think about the potential implications of what you’re about to say.

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