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Police Arrest Woman for Facebook Poke

| 13 Oct 2009 13:55
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Though this story is more complicated than it sounds, police have arrested a woman for performing a Facebook poke.

On September 25, Shannon D. Jackson of Hendersonville, Tennessee was arrested for poking one of her friends on Facebook. A poke is performed by visiting a Facebook friend's page and then clicking on the poke button. The person is notified that you poked them, and the whole situation ends there. That is, unless you decide to poke back, but we won't go into that sticky mess.

The woman that was poked had filed a legal order of protection against Jackson (for reasons unknown), resulting in the arrest after police determined that Jackson had violated it with her reckless poking. This order prohibits any kind of communication at all, even poking via internet. Proof of the poke was provided to authorities through a print-out.

There's a giant hole in this story if you haven't caught it yet. Anybody that uses Facebook and has broken up with a significant other or ended a friendship violently knows that you can easily remove people from your friends list. Facebook by default, in my experience, does not allow the poking of people that are not on your friends list. So, in this case, the poking victim could have just removed Jackson from her friends list.

If she had gone through the trouble of filing a legal order of protection, why would she keep Jackson as a friend on Facebook? Was it perhaps because she wanted to keep up with Jackson's status updates? Or maybe they were neighbors in FarmVille and just couldn't break such a strong bond? If you don't know what FarmVille is, god bless you. Now pretend you never read the word and live a long, productive life.

This is yet another case of a virtual action having real-life consequences. The law now has to consider new kinds of situations when it comes to the rapidly evolving social networking worlds of Facebook and Twitter and MySpa... okay maybe just Facebook and Twitter. As stupid as it sounds, if Jackson did intentionally poke the unnamed woman, she probably should rightfully suffer the consequences. The problem could lie with proving that Jackson actually performed the poke in a court of law, which to me would seem like something out of Seinfeld.

Source: ABC News via Slashdot

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