Here’s an interesting social media story. A man was just ordered by a judge to post a court approved apology to his wife on his facebook page every day for 30 days or spend 60 days in jail. You can read the story from the LA Times here.
There’s so many interesting facets to this story. Of course, the lesson to be learned here is that nothing is private on the internet.
Still, one has to ask, should someone be ordered to apologize for a statement that wasn’t even in the presence of the offended party? Granted, social media by its very nature may put that statement in the public eye, but it wasn’t your intent to do that in the first place.
But the flip side is that we all know that when we post something on facebook, it’s going to get out in public. The lesson here is don’t post anything on facebook that you don’t want others to find out. You may very well end up like this guy having to write an apology on your facebook page.
But here’s another question, should we have to be so careful about our words on facebook?
Should a court have the power to punish someone for a facebook post? Or even be able to order someone to post an apology on facebook?
Imagine this scenario:
I invite a few of my friends over to my house for a get together. No wives invited. So it’s a guys night in. We are having some beers and cigars.
Let’s just say one of the guys starts saying something not so polite about his (soon to be) ex-wife.
Disclaimer: I am happily married. If my wife happens to be reading this, the above account is entirely hypothetical. I would never in my wildest dreams say anything bad about my wife behind her back…
Now, back to the post…
Should he be required to apologize to his wife?
What if they are in the midst of a divorce proceeding. Can a judge now order that man to call a meeting with his buddies and publicly apologize for his statement?
What about the first amendment?
Should a person have the same first amendment rights when posting on his own facebook wall that he would have in the privacy of his own living room?
I don’t know the answers to those questions, maybe some of you might have some input about this subject. It’s interesting how technology and the internet is affecting our lives in so many different ways, isn’t it?