Social media sites have become an inseparable part of our lives. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are influential forms of communication, of sharing photos, and of keeping up with friends. Increasingly, these common social media sites are becoming useful tools for authorities to track suspects and detect crime, sometimes even serving as key evidence in criminal cases. A casual post on Facebook can have huge consequences for those who don’t think before they click. We especially need to educate teens about the enormous consequences Internet posts can have.
The Risks of Social Media
In recent years, police have started to turn to social media during investigations. From offhand inappropriate comments to threatening to shoot up a school, teenagers and adults alike have found out the hard way that what they say online can taken more seriously by law enforcement than they ever imagined.
As people are now learning, whenever you attach your name to something posted online, that post will be there forever for the world to see. Making a sarcastic remark or joke about killing someone may seem harmless when you post it, but with all the threats in our modern society, law enforcement is likely to take any perceived threat very seriously.
Be Careful What You Write
One recent example of how social media posts can lead to trouble is the January arrest of a man in New York who authorities charged with writing Facebook and Instagram posts threatening police officers. The man allegedly posted on Facebook saying, “I SWEAR IF THE COPS IN MOUNT VERNON THINK THEY CAN FOLLOW THE MADNESS THIS IS HOW THEY GOING TO END UP.” The post included an image of a person shooting a gun into a police car.
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated that threats against police officers receive zero tolerance. He said, “Here, as alleged, social media were used for the threat. Law enforcement should not have to wait to see whether a threat will be acted on, so now the defendant will have to answer for his threatening intentions, as charged.”
This arrest, and the many other arrests caused by social media posts, should send a strong message that social media is now taken extremely seriously by law enforcement. Teens and adults alike should think carefully before writing a post that could be perceived as a threat or could somehow get them in trouble.
If you get into trouble because of a Facebook or other social media post, seek legal assistance immediately. Daniel C. Miller is an experienced criminal defense attorney who knows how to guide clients through the legal process and to get the best result for each case. For legal help, call today in the Kansas City area at (816) 875-0470 in Missouri or (913) 624-9646 in Kansas.