You’re probably not thinking about long-term legal ramifications when you click the “like” button on Facebook. That’s why Florida man Timothy Weiner was so surprised to get sent to jail for criminal contempt — just because he liked a post on Facebook.
This weird case began when a judge recently warned Weiner to stop complaining about his ex-wife on Facebook, telling the former couple that neither parent “shall disparage or threaten the other parent on social media.” But just a week later, Weiner saw a photo of his ex-wife on a fathers’ rights page called “Mothers who abuse kids.” He liked the photo, and was promptly sent to county jail by the judge.
After he was released, Weiner expressed shock at how swift and harsh his punishment was.
“I absolutely did not expect to go to jail,” he said. “My freedom of speech was violated even though I didn’t say anything. All I did was like a Facebook post.”
But experts say people need to get used to their social media potentially being used against them in court.
“People have to recognize how much their web presence is going to become part of the conversation in the event of litigation,” law professor Charles Rose told the Tampa Bay Times.
So let the lesson stand: be careful what you share and even how you act on social media. There’s no telling how it could come back to bite you.