Facebook Tagging vs. Restraining Orders

MaddiRuhl - January 18, 2016 - 09:29 AM

Facebook Tagging vs. Restraining Orders

A recent court ruling upheld that contact by Facebook, including tagging, can violate a restraining order.

While there have long been legal inclusions for digital contact in cases of restraining orders (such as prohibiting someone from calling, texting, or emailing another person), the same specificity has not been as well-developed for Facebook use. But a new case from New York may change that, as a judge has ruled that a Facebook tag by local Maria Gonzalez has violated a restraining order. "The allegations that [the defendant] contacted the victim by tagging her in a Facebook posting which the victim was notified of," explained Supreme Court Justice Susan Capeci in her ruling, "is thus sufficient for pleading purposes to establish a violation of the order of protection."

While Gonzalez is reportedly not seeking to appeal against the court's decision, she had initially argued that the existing legal parameters of her restraining order "did not specifically prohibit [her] from Facebook communication" such as tagging someone in a post. However, Capeci volleyed back that the order did specify that Gonzalez was not to contact "the protected party by electronic or any other means." When it comes to protecting users from hate speech and abuse, Facebook has been pretty responsive in the past. But this ruling brings a new dimension of consideration for the social networking company within the legal realms, particularly with regards to activities such as tagging other people.

Photo: © iStock.
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