Thanks the anonymity of the Internet, people think that they are protected when they type without putting thought into what they are ‘saying.’ There are things people put on social media that they wouldn’t dream of saying to their closest friend, let alone hundreds of strangers. This happens every single day.

In the best cases, people start flame wars or end up being slightly embarrassed. In the worst cases, people wind up in jail. Yes. You read that correctly. People have landed in jail due to what they have said on social media.

The First Amendment

The First Amendment does protect free speech, but it is not absolute. Things like obscenity, fighting words, misleading commercial speech, threats, child pornography, and cyberbullying are not protected.

For example, you can not yell fire in a crowded area. This would cause a panic. You cannot say that someone is spreading a sexually transmitted disease. They may not be. You cannot make plans to commit an act that is illegal. This includes verbally or in writing.

What Are You to Do?

One of the best pieces of advice ever given when social media burst onto the scene was this: If you wouldn’t say it, don’t type it. It can be very easy to argue with someone you don’t know with typed words. You may quickly type an angry excerpt about your ex, thinking that you will gain support from friends and family.

Before you put something on social media, remember that it is not just the people on your list who will see it. Their friends may see it. Friends of their friends may see it. There should be no sense of privacy when you are online. None. If you think that what you want to type would get you into trouble if they came out of your mouth, chances are they will get you in trouble if you post them on social media.

You think before you speak. Think before you type.

If you have been arrested and need criminal defense in Orlando, call our office. A member of our team will review the details of your charges and advise you of the options you have. Your first consultation is free.

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