When you make a post on Facebook, the site gives you the automatic option to tag someone, which comes up almost like it’s begging you to do it. Well, that little taunting feature could be your downfall if you link the wrong person to your post.
You know our society is in trouble when simply tagging the wrong person on social media can land an individual in a world of hurt, as a woman in New York recently learned when police showed up at her door. What happens on the Internet, paired with irrational people’s sensitivities, can and will be used against you, thanks to the power at a person’s fingertips that could quickly dismantle an average adult’s life.
According to the New York Post, Maria Gonzalez is facing up to a year in jail for just two non-threatening posts that tagged her former sister-in-law, Maribel Calderon. Evidently, Calderon didn’t appreciate being called “stupid” and sent the feds, which was shockingly effective.
Although Maria and Maribel may still have been “friends” on Facebook, they are far from that in real life, after a bitter and still ongoing divorce between Maria and Maribel’s brother, Rafael Calderon. The rift between the family, after the dissolution of their marriage, was so deep that Maribel felt she needed to get a restraining order against Maria, which, if nothing else, was a power play on her part to slap the other woman in the face.
Regardless of the specific reasons for the restraining order, one was in place when Maria made a post that called Maribel “stupid” and tagged her in it, along with another Facebook status update that said, “You and your family are sad.” All it took was these two seemingly innocuous, non-violent posts, with Maribel’s name tagged to it, for Maria to be looking at up to 12 months of incarceration.
“The order of protection prohibited the defendant from contacting the protected party by electronic or any other means,” Westchester County Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci stated, as her viable reason for pursing jail time against Maria. This was in response to the defendant arguing that her Facebook communications were not included in the protection order, only to find out that all interaction counts.
Considering that it’s not all that difficult to get a protection order against another person, especially in a liberal state like New York, it’s only a matter of time before this turns into a detrimental practice for any person seeking vindication against another. With the amount of interaction that happens online, the shield to say whatever hurtful things you want, from the safe side of your computer screen, could come to a quick end. All it takes is for someone to secure a restraining order against their antagonist, and they have the upper hand in a single, detrimental click.
While this could be a good thing for combating cyber-bullying, which has been linked to many teen suicides, it can also be a power that’s abused by psychotic people, looking to one up the other in a virtual cat fight that ends in jail time without ever touching or really hurting the other person.