Court: Facebook “Friends” Aren’t Legally Your Friends

Add as friend [Converti] It’s always a good idea to be careful who you connect with on Facebook. You never know how these seemingly-innocuous connections could cause you a big headache. Just ask a judge in Florida, who had to go to court because one of the attorneys involved in a case in her court was a Facebook friend.

The judge didn’t face any legal trouble for her connection, but instead had to ask an appeals court if this casual Facebook friendship was grounds for her to recuse herself in the case. The appeals court ruling took a surprisingly detailed look at the issue and reached the conclusion that Facebook friendships aren’t, legally speaking, real friendships.

“Electronic social media is evolving at an exponential rate,” District Court Judge Thomas Logue wrote in the opinion. “Acceptance as a Facebook ‘friend’ may well once have given the impression of close friendship and affiliation. Currently, however, the degree of intimacy among Facebook ‘friends’ varies greatly.”

Pretty much any casual user of Facebook could tell you that, but it’s interesting for a court to spell it out—and potentially set a precedent. After all, no one wants to be held responsible for their Facebook friends, and especially for the actions of those friends.