Social Media Round-Up

Happy Wednesday, dear readers! There have been a number of interesting social-media stories in the news headlines recently. And, although I’d love to devote a post to each of them, my day job makes that ambition a bit unrealistic. But they are worthy of mention, so I’m going to so in today’s post. Here goes!

Anti-Government Posts Lead to Trouble for Commenters

First, there are two stories of individuals who’ve gotten into trouble for their political speech online. The first of the two comes from Virginia, where a judge ordered the release of a 26-year-old former Marine, who was questioned by the FBI and then detained for a mental-health examination because of comments he posted on his Facebook page that, according to the FBI, indicated an intent to engage in violent and/or terroristic activities.

The second of the two stories comes from the Netherlands, where a 28-year-old man was given a six-month suspended sentence for threatening and insulting Queen Beatrix. The man posted his insults on Twitter. The court found that the tweets were “offensive to her dignity” and held that, whether the Queen actually saw the insults was irrelevant to their decision. The Irish Times reports that the decision is the first of its kind from the Dutch court.

In the Courtroom

The federal Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management published an updated edition of Proposed Model Jury Instructions. The instructions are aimed at juror’s use of social media and other new technology while serving jury duty.

There are several important changes to these new Proposed Model Instructions but, to me, the key change is the inclusion of a reporting instruction. If a juror learns that another juror has violated the instructions, he is to inform the judge.

This issue has come up for lawyers, too. The ethics rules of some states require an attorney to report any suspected violation by a juror. But other states, including Delaware, have no such rule. Absent a specific rule, the question has been posed at more than one seminar I’ve attended (as attendee and speaker), but I’ve never heard a definitive answer. (If asked what I would do–as opposed what I would be obligated to do, the answers may not be the same. I can assure you that the answer to the former is, “report it at once.”) via ABA Journal

Social-Media Privacy

An interesting development in social-media security has been announced by McAfee called, Social Protection. The Facebook app and browser plugin is said to display users’ photos as blurred images, which will be displayed as actual photos only once the user’s Facebook friends have installed the app.

Even more interesting are the app’s other protections, which prevent photos from being downloaded, shared, or captured as screen shots. (How that works, I have no idea but it sure does sound cool!) It’s a fascinating concept and I will look forward to seeing how it is received by Facebook users. Social Protection is currently available as a free public beta version. via

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