Twitter is a popular site for people to send out 140-character messages to anyone who follows them. However, not everyone is familiar with what is and is not private on this and other social networking sites. They also may not know that they can get in some very serious trouble if any of the information they share on these platforms is illegal.
Because of how new these sites are, people who end up facing criminal charges for misusing them or sending out illegal material on them may have no idea what to expect, as the situation may have never come up in a case before. For example, one Florida resident is facing a very troubling situation after posting pictures on his Twitter account. The investigation into these allegations is reportedly the first of its kind in the Florida area.
The man, who is a father and a firefighter, is facing 16 counts related to child pornography after he allegedly posted pornographic images on his Twitter account. Some of the images reportedly include females under the age of 18. In previous years, the postings may have not generated this type of attention. However, one year ago, Twitter announced that they would be reporting flagged images depicting minors in a pornographic way to The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. This man's account was one of those affected by this change.
According to the man's attorney, he had no intention of sharing illegal images. He says that while the man may have sent out pornographic photos, he was not aware of how old the people in the photos were. It is likely that there will be a very thorough investigation to determine where the photos originated and whether the man knew or should have known that some of the females in the photos were minors.
Because this case is the first of its kind in Miami-Dade County, where the charges were filed, it is likely very confusing and frightening for the man who may have no idea what to expect. People who are in similar situations should remember that they have the right to work with an attorney who can explain their rights and help them protect themselves. Situations involving new technology and laws can be extremely confusing and generally require someone to have an extensive legal background in order to navigate the unfamiliar territory.
Source: NBC Miami, "Firefighter Faces Child Porn Charges Over Twitter Posts," April 18, 2014