According to online news reports, lawyers in the UK have made statements telling clients that their tweets may be scrutinized during court proceedings. And it may be used against users as evidence.
What is Social Media Crime?
In a fast-paced society, dominated by the Internet, many people leave a record of their daily routines on social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. This has become the norm for most people to keep in touch with family members and online users.
Social media today reflects how far users can go with social networking. Facebook was involved in the murder of a Miami wife, Jennifer Alfonso, by her husband Derek Medina, 33. Social media case studies include the likes of the story about Medina who shot and killed his wife and then posted photos detailing the death on his Facebook account, as reported by news.com.au.
Social Media Dependency
This is a disturbing trend, since social media and social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are taking precedence over family relationships. In an effort to connect online, we have taken a backseat in developing our non-virtual relationships and people skills.
For most people, reading about crime on Twitter is a way of boasting for the crime. In Medina's case, this appears to be true. Most people would want to talk to their immediate family about disturbing criminal behaviour. When people turn to the virtual community to acknowledge crime or to confess their behaviour, it signals that the person is over-dependent on technology. This also points to society's over-dependence on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.
UK Attorneys Issue Warnings Against Online Communication
Mark McDonald, defence lawyer in the UK said online communication is used in trials by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. Mr McDonald commented on the trend after a teenager from the Unites States tweeted about speeding, hence, pushing up his manslaughter charge to murder.
"There can be naivety, in that people believe they can say things on social media and it won't be used against them," said Mr McDonald, as quoted by Metro.
"Social media is also used as a tool by people in the Crown Prosecution Service or the police; for instance, they may ask someone alleging rape to send a message to the person they are accusing asking why they did it. Their reply can then be used in evidence," he said in a report by the Herald Sun.
"You should only provide content that you are comfortable sharing with others," warned Twitter in its terms and conditions. "What you say on Twitter may be viewed all around the world instantly. You are what you Tweet!"
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