Most of these people could have avoided legal scrutiny had they just logged off the social network.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been accused of a lot of criminal activity: cheating an early investor out of his share of the company’s profits; cheating a fellow cofounder out of his share of the company’s profits; cheating a pair of hulking, privileged rowers out of a share of the company’s profits; and criminal blasphemy.
But so far, he’s stayed out of handcuffs for what he’s done with his social network.
Not everyone’s been so cautious. Since the company’s launch in 2004, a number of users have gotten arrested for what they’ve posted to Facebook, whether it’s threats of violence, child pornography, or photographic evidence of theft.
In honor of the company’s ninth anniversary, here are nine individuals, most of them quite dumb, who have been arrested for something as simple and avoidable as a Facebook post.
1) Jason Moss
As his 20-year high school reunion loomed, Jason Moss reportedly posted on Facebook: “I’m still seeking vengeance on all those who bullied and harassed me when I was growing up or went to school. You people do not know what you did to me.” He “would have started the Columbine shootings early,” he added.
Local news reported that 150 alumni attended the reunion. Moss, though he RSVP’d, didn’t make it.
Instead, he spent the night in jail.
Moss was released the next day on bond after police decided he wasn’t a legitimate threat.
2) Jacob Cox-Brown
Everyone knows alcohol impairs your judgement and your ability to drive a car. What’s less studied is just how much booze affects your Facebooking.
Jacob Cox-Brown, an 18-year-old from Oregon, failed on both counts when he drove home, logged onto Facebook, and wrote: “Drivin drunk… classic 😉 but to whoever’s vehicle i hit i am sorry. :p.”
His post didn’t count as a legally admissible confession. But police, tipped by one of Brown’s friends, drove to his house and found that his car matched one described in a hit-and-run case—in the same neighborhood and the same day as Brown’s Facebook post. They booked him on two counts of failing to perform the duties of a driver.
3) Shahien Dhada
Dhada, 21, was less than impressed that her city of Mumbai was closing down to memorialize the founder of India’s controversial Shiv Sena party. “People…are born and die daily and one should not observe a [major service] for that,” she wrote.
Dhada, along with a friend who liked that status, were promptly arrested under 66A of India’s heavily criticized Information Technology Act, which criminalizes “abusing” another person online. The two friends, who were soon released, have since become the face of the law’s absurdity, prompting politicians to call for the amendment of the act.
If you have to be arrested for being irreverent on Facebook about a politician’s death, it’s gotta be a nice consolation prize to see your government debate changing the law because you caused international controversy.
4) Charles Rodriguez
This dude had the idea for the perfect heist: He stole two briefcases full of diamonds in the U.K., then flew to his native Colombia, where he wouldn’t be extradited.
But he forgot one thing: It’s not smart to return back to the country where you’re wanted for assault, as a vacation, and then to post pictures of your sightseeing to Facebook.
Rodriguez, thought to be a member of the Latin Kings gang, safely snuck back into England by travelling under an assumed name. But British cops hadn’t stopped monitoring his page, deduced he was back in the country, and nabbed him while he was driving.
5) Michael Baker
Gas prices are high, sure, but maybe the Kentucky man who stole straight from a police cruiser should have found a payment plan for a hybrid.
Michael Baker, 20, posted a photo to Facebook of himself siphoning fuel straight from a cop car, flipping off the camera as he did it. Friends quickly shared it, and it wasn’t long before Jenkins, Ky., police had their evidence.
Baker indicated to his Facebook friends that he wasn’t too sorry, later posting “just got out of jail,” “yea lol i went too jail over facebook,” and “yea lol u would just have to seen it it was funny as hell” to his wall.
6) John Doe (England)
A young man from Gloucester, England, was arrested after he posted a clip of two 14-year-olds having sex to an open Facebook page.
If it helps, he was one of them.
The young man could be charged with creating illicit video of a minor, one officer warned. Ultimately Gloucester cops dropped the charges, though they issued him a final warning, which will stay on his police record until 2020.
7) Akbar Baraki
Most Facebook users took to the site express grief after the Newton Elementary School shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead. But Southern California’s Akbar Baraki, described by his father as “not normal,” was not one of them.
“Newtown is just the begging [sic] of the attacks …… more kids must be killed if anyone watched the bin laden movie will be shot at site…. this is a final warring [sic] to all Americans,” he wrote.
Concerned that the remarks were a threat, especially considering how close Baraki, 37, lived to an elementary school, the LAPD raided his home. There, they found two air rifles—which were barred from Baraki’s possession, since he was on probation for drug charges.
8) John Doe (Canada)
A Canadian middle schooler was “scarred for life,” according to his mother, after he was arrested for posting cell phone footage of two female classmates fighting to Facebook.
In the video, one girl tries to walk away, but her opponent grabs her by her backpack and throws her to the ground, then punches her repeatedly while bystanders laugh. An officer said that posting the clip interfered with the girls’ reasonable use of Facebook and charged him with criminal mischief.
9) Brower Boys
A NYC cop, trying to stop a ring of breaking and entering cases, befriended a number of members of Brooklyn’s Brower Boys gang. Then, he sat back and watched as 14 teenagers took turns bragging on Facebook about their exploits
Officer Michael Rodrigues didn’t move in on the gang until one of them updated his Facebook status to say It’s break-in day on the avenue.”
At least one member called his colleagues out, posting “you all just gave yourself away” after one confession.
Technically, this might up our tally to 22.
All photos via Facebook
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