As social media has become more and more prominent in our daily lives it is, equally, becoming more and more important to be cautious about what you post online. Anything and everything you post online – a picture, a Facebook status or a Tweet – is automatically a part of the cyber world and will leave an eternal footprint.
Some people do not realize this and do not realize the possible severity and consequences that an online post can cause. These days, every company and corporation has an official social media account – the FBI, the President and the Prime Minister all have their own official twitter accounts. Authorities are constantly tracing IP addresses and searching for threats made online. Some online users are completely innocent and think they are playing a stupid prank, but a lot of them pay the price for seemingly innocent posts.
15. 14 year old Sarah – No Charges
A 14 year old girl tweeted the official Twitter account of American Airlines that she is a part of Al Qaida and that she will do something really big. Not long after, the airline account responded that her IP address will be forwarded to the FBI. She quickly panicked, retracted her comment and apologized several times.
14. Middle School Girls – School Suspension
Six middle school girls were arrested in 2011 for creating an “Attack a Teacher Day” event on Facebook and for inviting over 100 students to participate. Even though they insisted it was just a joke, some of the girls made violent remarks about specific teachers and other students responded enthusiastically. All six girls were arrested but were released shortly after and received a five day suspension from school.
13. Leigh Van Bryan and Emily Bunting – Vacation cancelled
After tweeting a friend to get ready to “destroy America,” two young friends from Britain were met at the Los Angeles International Airport by Homeland Security agents. After being questioned for several hours, it was finally understood that the term “destroy” was slang for “party.” The pair spent the night locked up and were put on a flight back home the next day.
12. “Mark” – No Jail Time, Disorderly Conduct
In 2013, George Zimmerman was acquitted for his charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter of a 17 year old male in Florida, which left many people shocked and upset. A 15 year old, known online as “Mark” took to Twitter to say that he would commit mass murder and get away with it. Luckily for him, the cops who arrested him soon realized he wasn’t actually a threat and released him with a disorderly conduct charge.
11. Mark Byron – No Jail Time
When Mark Byron and his wife were going through a not-so-amicable divorce, Byron took to Facebook to rant about it and to insult his wife. When his wife and mother of his children showed the posts in court, the only way Byron could get out of jail time was by agreeing to repeatedly publicly apologize to her on Facebook. His rant also helped his wife’s case, and he received only occasional custody of his children.
10. Muhammad Ruhul Amin Khandaker – Faced 6 Months
Khandaker was working for a University’s Department of Information in Bangladesh when he made a comment on a Facebook article regarding a fatal car accident and wishing that something similar would happen to Sheikh Hasina – referring to Bangladesh’s Prime Minister. He was facing six months in prison for this comment, but was granted asylum in Australia.
9. Bong Photo Mom – Fined for Drug Paraphernalia
A 19 year old mother from Jacksonville, Florida was arrested after posting a picture on Facebook of her 11 month year old son smoking a bong pipe. After an investigation, authorities discovered that it was a staged photo and no drugs were found. She got off with a fine for drug paraphernalia and had to undergo an evaluation of her ability to parent a child.
8. Paul Chambers – $1600 Fine and Unemployed
Frustrated that the Robin Hood Airport in Yorkshire was closed because of the snow, 26 year old Paul Chambers tweeted that if the airport didn’t get organized quickly, he would blow it up. After over a year of fighting the charges against him, Chambers finally won the high court challenge – although he was fined $1600 and lost two jobs along the way.
7. Cameron D’Ambrosio – 3 Weeks in Jail
After one of his fellow classmates alerted the police of Cameron D’Ambrosio’s Facebook post, the 18 year old was arrested and imprisoned for three weeks. As an aspiring rapper, he posted these provocative but alarming lyrics “Fuck a boston bomb wait till u see the shit I do, I’mma be famous rapping, and beat every murder charge that comes across me!”
6. Maxi Sopo – Detention Center, Possible Deportation
Originally from Cameroon, Maxi Sopo moved to the U.S in 2003 and was working selling roses in nightclubs – but he moved on to bank fraud. On the run from authorities, he started to post Facebook statuses about the good time he was having in Cancun. He has been detained in the Stewart Detention Centre in Georgia since his arrest in 2012, still awaiting the decision on whether or not he will be allowed to stay in the ‘States.
5. Luis Vela – Awaits Trial
A 20 year old student, Luis Vela, from New Jersey was arrested this year for making online threats to shoot his school classmates. He posted his comments anonymously on the site Yik Yak, but within hours authorities had traced him as the source. He awaits trial on charges of making terroristic threats, simple assault and harassment. His bail was set at half a million dollars and only on the condition of a psychiatric evaluation.
4. Matthew Woods – 3 Months in Prison
19 year old Matthew Woods from England was sentenced to three months in prison after making several offensive comments on Facebook about two young girls who had disappeared and joking around that he had them. He went as far to say that no one would even want to kidnap a ginger child.
3. Donte Jamar Sims – 6 Months in Prison
In September 2012, then 21 year old Donte Jamar Sims posted multiple tweets about assassinating President Obama. Whether or not the tweets were meant to be a joke, this was clearly a horrible idea.
The Secret Service knocked on his door a few days later and, despite his apologies and explanations, he was sentenced to six months in prison.
2. Justin Carter – Out on Bail – Faces up to 10 Years
Then 18 year old Justin Carter awaits trial and can face up to ten years in prison for a Facebook comment he made alluding to “shooting up a Kindergarden,” only two months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012. Carter was retaliating against a fellow League of Legends gamer who insulted him online. His bail has been set to $500 000, he cannot use the internet and must be at least 100 feet away from children at all times until his sentence is determined.
1. Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan – 4 Years in Prison
In 2011, 20 year old Blackshaw set up an event on Facebook called “Smash Down in Northwich Town” encouraging others to start riots in their town. Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 2 years older than Blackshaw, created a Facebook page named “The Warrington Riots,” which allegedly caused panic in the town. Although no riots actually broke out, the pair got four years in jail.