12 November 2009

Facebook status used as alibi

It seems to me that the courts are increasingly acknowledging the role social networking plays in modern life. 

There have been a few cases recently in which status updates or photos posted on social networking sites have been used as evidence in criminal trials. Judges have also placed restrictions on criminals using social networking sites as part of sentencing; in August, members of the Manchester-based Fallowfield Mad Dogs were forbidden from uploading photos of themselves with other gang members to MySpace.

Now, possibly for the first time, a man has used a Facebook status update as an alibi. Rodney Bradford was arrested as a suspect in a gun-point mugging in New York. The charges were dropped after it was revealed that Rodney's Facebook profile had been updated with the status "Where's my pancakes" at the time the mugging occurred.  Facebook verified the address from which Rodney's page had been updated.

I'll be watching the papers closely to see if people using their online activities as proof of their offline movements becomes an increasing trend. Have you heard of any cases like this? Be sure to get in touch and let me know.


  1. Are they sure it was him posting the status update - it could have been someone else, or perhaps even a script setup to do this automatically at a certain time!!!

  2. That's a good point Anonymous, and one that was raised else where in the media. If you want to read more about this case and the different perspectives surrounding it, try this article that appeared in the New York Times - http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/12/nyregion/12facebook.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=Rodney%20Bradford&st=cse

  3. Y. J Chan . London20 November 2009 at 22:58

    Hi there,

    I was given a you tube clip about a TV show called deteline NBC. Those clips were mainly showing how they catch pedophiles in the U.S. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwWnN8cWTLU&feature=related It seems like a good idea to catch those monsters before they do anything, is it possible to do that in here?

    Internet is not safe for youngsters, I think everyone should be very careful and pay attention to where your child's been online.

    Finally , thanks for all your hard work.