Without getting into a legal discussion, please know that whatever you post on the internet can be discovered if you're ever a party to a lawsuit. A judge is very likely to make you produce anything that you have posted to the internet, even if anonymous or "private". This applies to what your family posts too.
Recently, 69 year old Patrick Snay learned this the hard way. Snay was the headmaster of a fancy prep school here in Miami but a few years ago, the school did not renew his contract and he sued for age discrimination. The school settled with him and agreed to pay $10,000 in back wages plus $80,000 for other damages and pay his attorneys fees. It was a win for him. The agreement contained a confidentiality clause prohibiting him from talking about the case. These clauses are often standard in settlement agreements.
Snay's daughter Dana was so excited about the results of her father's case, that she could not resist posting this to her 1200 Facebook friends immediately after it was agreed to.
“Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver.
Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”
Supposedly this is a photo of Ms. Snay (source Yahoo! Shine)
Besides making her parents so proud with her classy Facebook photo and post, she cost them $80,000. The school's lawyers found out about the post within four days of the settlement and successfully asked the Court to invalidate the agreement. The Florida appeals Court ruled that the settlement agreement was violated and that the school did not have to pay the Principal.( The case can still be appealed to the Florida Supreme Court)
You've probably seen the news stories about people posting their illegal acts online and it leading to problems for them ( example: Miami Fraternity was suspended from campus after posting about drug dealing and hazing) and how posting about what you're doing can lead to people robbing you (example: woman's home was robbed after she posted that she was going out to see a concert. The burglars were her Facebook "friends" ) but did you know that it is possible that comments that you make on your blog or others can
also get you in trouble?
also get you in trouble?
Courts have found that bloggers may have a free-speech right to write what they want to online but are not protected from being sued for their comments, even if posted anonymously! If a Court finds that your online comments are defamatory, you could be liable for them. The legal line drawn is between "opinion" and "fact". If you call your ex-boyfriend a "liar or a loser", that is likely to be found to be an opinion and free speech. But if you write something like ,"Dr. Jones is the worst dentist. He overcharges people and performs work that does not really need to be done", it could be found to be defamatory.
So tread likely and think before you hit "enter".