Can Social Media Result In A Criminal Record?


With the prevalence of social media, you have likely read or seen photos or videos of different exchanges and interactions. Many times, people write disparaging things about others on social media under the guise of free speech. However, there are some things you can post that can land you in legal trouble. The following are some things you need to know:

Is Speech Really Free?

According to the law, free speech has been a core right since the days of the founding fathers. By law, you have the freedom to say what you wish, but you are not going to be protected from any ramifications from the things you say. You should not say, print, or post certain things without understanding what can happen as a result.

Can Online Threats be a Criminal Act?

Online threats may vary from state to state as to what actually makes up a threatening statement. However, if you post something that is reasonably understood as a legitimate threat, such as threatening to hurt or kill someone, you can face serious criminal charges. Depending on the state, you can end up with felonies on your record just because you posted a threat to someone online.

What If You Do Not Mean What You Say?

If you post something online that is threatening or can otherwise get you in trouble, it does not necessarily matter if you posted it in jest. If you post anything online that is reasonably believed as truth, you can face criminal charges. This includes things like false bomb threats or acting like a copycat by reposting similar threats made by another person.

Can You Get in Trouble for Sharing Private Moments?

If you were intimate with someone and that person has made you angry, you cannot get revenge by posting photos or videos of the two of you engaged in a sexual act online. The only way this is permissible is if the other person gives his or her consent. Even then, it is not an ideal thing to do as the other person could change his or her mind and claim that you did not have permission to post the photos or videos.

What About Hate Speech?

Hate speech, despite the fact that it can be hurtful and traumatizing, is technically protected by the First Amendment. However, if any hate speech moves across the threshold of threats, it can then be considered a felony.

For more information, get in touch with law firms like Cohen Law Offices, LLC.


22 January 2020

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