Socially Aware: The Social Media Law Update -- Vol. 3, Issue 2 April 2012


In This Issue:

Vindictive Ex-Girlfriend Could Face 18 Months in Prison for Facebook “E-Personation”; Man Bites PhoneDog: Twitter Account Ownership Dispute; Warning Signs: Promotions Using Facebook’s “Like” Feature; The JOBS Act Opens Door for Crowdfunding Offerings; Click-Accept Arbitration: Enforcing Arbitration Provisions in Online Terms of Service; Facebook’s Online Terms of Service Held to Be Enforceable; Status Updates; and Announcements.

Excerpt from Vindictive Ex-Girlfriend Could Face 18 Months in Prison for Facebook “E-Personation”

Late last year, Superior Court Judge David Ironson in Morristown, New Jersey, declined to dismiss an indictment of identity theft against Dana Thornton, who allegedly created a false Facebook page that portrayed her ex-boyfriend, narcotics detective Michael Lasalandra, in a highly unfavorable light. According to the prosecution, Thornton used the page to impersonate her ex-boyfriend, publishing posts through which the false “Lasalandra” admitted to using drugs, hiring prostitutes and contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Thornton’s defense attorney Richard Roberts did not deny that Thornton created the bogus Facebook page, but argued that the indictment against Thornton failed to “quantify or qualify” the injuries Lasalandra suffered because of the impersonation. Roberts also argued that New Jersey’s impersonation and identity theft statute does not include “electronic communications” as a means of unlawful impersonation and that Thornton’s actions thus did not fall within the scope of activity that the statute proscribes.

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