“When you post…on Facebook, you have to figure that it is not going to stay private long.” read the press release from Astoria Police, Oregon. But what was the post they were referring to, and why had it come to the police’s attention in the first place?
An 18-year-old had (stupidly) updated their Facebook status with “Drivin drunk… classic but whoever’s vehicle i hit i am sorry. “, which resulted in two people tipping off the police about the post. Officers then subsequently inspected the careless poster’s car, and found that damage to his vehicle matched that of two other vehicles that had been hit earlier that New Year’s morning.
However, in the eyes of the law a Facebook post is not sufficient evidence of intoxication, so he could not be charged with drink-driving, but the physical evidence from the vehicles was enough to allow the police to charge the young man with two counts of “failing to perform the duties of a driver”.
While we’d never condone illegal and irresponsible actions such as drink driving, this story serves as yet another reminder that the things we post online often reach a wider audience that we originally expected. Forgetting the particulars of this case, the words of the police press release are worth repeating and remembering:
When you post on Facebook, you have to figure that it is not going to stay private long.