The biggest mistake we make with our social media accounts is we think of them as private diaries. Too often we see somebody post something that is clearly questionable. When someone objects to the questionable post, the individual is usually given the tiresome, “It’s my wall. If you don’t like what you see, you know where the ‘unfollow’ button is!” The problem with this statement is it isn’t “your wall”. It isn’t “your feed”. People are posting on public forums and truly believe that so long as they have posted it, they somehow own that intangible corner of the Internet and it isn’t subject to ridicule or exposure. It’s an ignorant belief and it has been getting people into a lot of trouble.
We’ve all seen celebrities put the proverbial foot in the mouth with commentary on current events that is meant to be funny or sarcastic, but is instead met with ridicule and public shaming. We’ve even seen in the news that this can happen to relative “nobodies”. The Internet is extremely powerful when it comes to accumulating mass exposure in a very short amount of time. Most of the time a sincere apology and stepping away from social media for a while can extinguish the flames. However, sometimes a social media user crosses a line and the police get involved. Sometimes those users even get to see what the inside of a jail cell looks like.
15. Pair Put In Jail for Terrorist Threat Mix-Up
Leigh Van Bryan and Emily Bunting were just two ordinary British tourists with a bit of a dark sense of humour. Before traveling to California to see Hollywood, Leigh tweeted out to his friends, “Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?”. Emily had also tweeted, “3 weeks today, we’re totally in LA pissing people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin’ Marilyn Monroe up!”
Here’s where things get funny. “Destroy” is a British slang term meaning to “get drunk and party”. Emily’s tweet was a Family Guy quote. Regardless of how harmless the tweets actually were, when Leigh and Emily arrived in California they had their passports confiscated, their bags were searched for shovels, and they were put into a jail cell with actual criminals. Emily was even asked if she was supposed to serve as lookout while they exhumed the body of Marilyn Monroe.
14. Bad Lyrics Land Wannabe Rapper In the Slammer
Cameron D’Ambrosio was able to enjoy some R&R in a jail cell when he made the mistake of posting his own rap lyrics to his Facebook wall. The lyrics in question were:
“f*** a boston bombinb [sic] wait til u see the s*** I do, I’ma be famous for rapping, and beat every murder charge that comes across me.”
Cameron’s only real crime is terrible lyrics. Nevertheless, a fellow high school student reported the Facebook post to the local authorities and Cameron was arrested and charged with threats to make a bomb and hijack a vehicle – charges that carried a pretty hefty twenty year sentence. D’Ambrosio was held in jail until his bail hearing when he was eventually released. Fortunately, some common sense kicked in and a Grand Jury threw out the indictment citing First Amendment violations.
13. Justin Carter Is Apparently Not A Comedic Genius
Why is it that teenagers love joking about shooting up their school? It would be understandable if school shootings happened once every ten years, but sadly mass shootings are an all too common occurrence in the U.S. these days. There was no misunderstanding here, Carter was just being a little twit and going for that shock value humour that is only ever properly executed in bad horror movies and Adult Swim cartoons.
Justin was engaged in an argument about the game League of Legends on Facebook, when another user told him he was “crazy” and “messed up in the head”. Carter replied with, “Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head. I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still-beating hearts.” The comment landed Justin in jail for several months. Fortunately, the courts ruled on the side of common sense and rationality and Carter didn’t end up spending the twenty years in prison for making terrorist threats.
12. Even Children Hate George Zimmerman
An unnamed Chicago minor served some time in jail for posting his thoughts on professional scumbag George Zimmerman. You have to almost feel sorry for the individuals that supported Zimmerman when all we knew was his side of the events that happened on the night he killed Trayvon Martin. But then we started learning that Zimmerman was a world class piece of s*** before and after his trial. Zimmerman finally gave people on both sides of the gun debate something they could agree on. That something was, “George Zimmerman is the worst”.
A 15-year-old in Chicago, whose name was withheld for being a minor, felt the same. He posted his frustrations to social media, saying that if Zimmerman was found “not guilty” he would hunt down George and kill him. Like many of these instances, the kid was only held in jail for a short time and then released. In most of these cases, you can tell people are joking. In this case, enough people wanted Zimmerman’s head it’s probably better that any threat on his life was taken seriously.
11. Matthew Woods Joked About An Abducted child
Here we see another tasteless joke that landed a teenager in hot water. What is it about teenagers and young adults that make them think the only good comedy is shock humour? Have they ever even eaten a Popsicle or a Laffy Taffy? Bad jokes and puns are far more hilarious than child abduction jokes. It’s too bad no one told that to Matthew Woods.
In 2007 a child named April Jones went missing. It’s important to note that April was what some might call a “ginger”. Matthew decided to post the following:
“I woke up this morning in the back of a transit van with two beautiful little girls, I found April in a hopeless place. Who in their right mind would abduct a ginger kid? ”
10. Paul Chambers Threatened To Blow Up An Airport
It’s crazy what we say out of anger. You’d think at this point people would understand that terrorism is sort of a big deal right now and many governments are on high alert when it comes to detecting and stopping possible attacks before they happen. Somehow, this was lost on Paul Chambers when he was upset with the Robin Hood airport. Chambers noticed the airport was closed due to inclement weather and decided to tweet, “Crap. Robin Hood airport is closed. You’ve got a week and a bit to get your s*** together otherwise I’m blowing the airport sky high!!”
First. It’s not a good time in the Earth’s life span to be telling people you’re going to blow anything up. You definitely don’t say anything about blowing up an airport. You can get in trouble for simply saying the word “bomb” in an airport. Even in the context of, “I don’t have a bomb in my bag. Haha!”
9. Facebook Riot Inciters Get A Tough Jail Term
Many of the cases we’ve mentioned have more or less just been moments where the authorities made examples out of people that made bad decisions. Most of them sat in a jail cell for a while and then were released with charges being eventually thrown out. That’s not the case for Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan.
These two gentlemen decided to make Facebook events for riots they called “Smashdown in Northwich Town” and “The Warrington Riots”. Unbeknownst to them at the time, this created a mass panic as people actually thought riots were being incited and about to go down. When one of the men woke up in the morning, hungover, he deleted the page but the damage had been done. Both men were sentenced to four years in a young offenders institution.
8. Teen Jailed For Making “LOL” Crack On Facebook After Car-Crash
Whenever we make a mistake, we might take to Facebook and talk about how stupid we are for having made it. What happened to Paula Asher is something we’ve all done, but not when the stakes were quite this high.
Paula Asher stepped into her vehicle after a night of drinking, hit a car carrying four teenagers, continued to drive, and was finally caught by police. Obviously, she was charged with a hit and run and a DUI. Later, Asher would post to Facebook, “My dumba** got a DUI and I hit a car…LOL”.
Parents of the teenagers reported the flippant comment to the authorities and Asher was told to delete her Facebook account while the case was still in courts. Asher did not comply and was slapped with an additional contempt of court charge and spent two days in jail.
7. FBI Arrests Husband After Ex-Wife Poses As A Hot Teen To Trap Him
This situation is pretty hilarious. While the comment made by David Voelkert wasn’t posted publicly, the way his threat made it to the person who was supposed to receive it is incredible.
Voelkert was recently divorced when he received a friend request from a young, attractive female named Jessica Studebaker. A warning alarm went off in David’s head and something felt wrong. Voelkert believed Jessica to be his ex-wife trying to continue messing with him, so he went to the courts and signed an affidavit stating he believes Jessica to be his ex-wife and that he intends no harm against his former spouse. David then continued talking to “Jessica” and eventually stated he had bugged his ex-wife’s car and intended to kill her. It turned out that Jessica Studebaker was most definitely David’s ex-wife. She reported David. Authorities arrested Voelkert and brought him to jail, but he was released shortly after when the affidavit was pulled.
6. Jake Newsome Made Vulgar Comments About A Teacher Stabbed In Her Classroom
Who knows why people like Jake Newsome are so angry? In 2014, a beloved teacher named Ann Maguire was stabbed by a fifteen-year-old student in her classroom. Nearly the entirety of Britain was totally shocked by the case, and Newsome saw this as an opportunity to tell his friends on social media exactly how he feels about teachers. Newsome posted, “Personally, I’m glad that teacher got stabbed up. Feel sorry for the kid, he should’ve p***** on her too.”
Outrage became apparent and due to the public reaction, authorities showed up to arrest Newsome and locked him up. Newsome claims he didn’t think the comments were offensive. Behind bars might be a good place for Newsome as it would seem he has very little self awareness and a lot of pent up rage.
5. Teacher’s Stabbing Inspired Another To Tweet Unnerving Threats
Something about Ann Maguire’s death must have set people off, as Jake Newsome wasn’t the only one to be jailed over comments made about the classroom stabbing of the beloved UK teacher. Unlike Newsome, Robert Riley wasn’t just some dumb kid. Robert was 42-years-old at the time.
In addition to tweeting out the name of the minor offender, Riley said that he wouldn’t have stopped at Riley. He would have killed all her colleagues as well. As people went through his Twitter history, they found out that Riley had a litany of posts applauding tragedy and promoting hate. The comments landed Riley an eight week stay behind bars.
4. Azhar Ahmed Thinks All Soldiers Should Die
After six British soldiers were killed by an explosive device in Afghanistan, West Yorkshire man Azhar Ahmed decided then would be perfect time to tell social media exactly how he feels about British soldiers. Azhar took to Twitter and posted, “all soldiers should die and go to hell”. I wonder how he really feels?
Needless to say, the tweet sparked public outrage and Azhar stated that he didn’t think the tweet was offensive. This is a common mistake, “Just because I’m not offended I didn’t think anyone else would be.”
Azhar spent some time in jail and was eventually sentenced to a hefty fine and community service. Despite the outcry against Azhar, there was an equal outcry against the sentencing for the violation of free speech.
3. Man Posted Picture Of Dead Grenfell Tower Fire Victim
In relatively recent news (as of the time of this writing), Omega Mwaikambo was recently jailed for posts surrounding the Grenfell Tower fire in North Kensington, London. Mwaikambo lived just a short distance away from the Tower and was struck by the tragedy. Like many of us would do, Mwaikambo took photos of the scene. Unfortunately, Omega went a little too far when he began to post the charred, dead body of a victim believed to have leapt to his death to escape the blaze.
Mwaikambo states he was simply shocked that the body was not attended to and he meant no harm. He was very cooperative with police and gave them all the information necessary to remove the images. The biggest issue with posting the photos wasn’t so much the graphic nature, but the fact that it was so early that the victim’s family wouldn’t have even known about the death.
2. Released Convict Put Back In Jail For Posting Numerous Pictures With Guns
A cell might be a good place for Denzel Biggs. It doesn’t seem he has enough common sense to make it out in the real world.
Biggs is a convicted felon who, at the time, had five firearm related felonies under his belt. Needless to say, when Biggs was released, he wasn’t allowed to be in possession of firearms. When Biggs was told he wasn’t supposed to be in possession of firearms, he must have somehow heard, “Possess all the firearms!” No sooner than when he was released, Biggs began posting pictures of himself with a number of different guns to his Facebook page. Biggs found himself back in jail as soon as he’d left. Bond was denied because Biggs was considered a risk. Would you believe it? The guy who can’t keep his hands off guns is considered a risk!
1. Man Liked His Own Crime Stoppers Wanted Poster On Facebook
This case is absolutely fantastic. Levi Charles Reardon had been wanted by police for check forgeries and a wallet theft in Cascade County, Montana. Police were having a hard time finding Reardon so naturally they put the alert out on Crime Stoppers. The Facebook page for Crime Stoppers posted Reardon’s wanted poster with a last known photograph.
After another long day of forging checks (just kidding!), Reardon decided to relax and do a little Facebook-ing. When he came across his wanted poster on the Crime Stoppers page, Reardon ‘liked’ the post!
We’re not entirely sure if the ‘like’ is how police centered in on Reardon, but they did arrest him in just a very short time after the incident. Reardon had removed his like, but fortunately a local news source took a screen shot of the incident for our amusement.
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