Social Suit? Think Before You Post (and before you sue…)

By Posted in - Free Advice on February 24th, 2012

Junior High Margot rockin' the side ponytail.

Despite the fabulous advice of Ashley Huteau in her blog post a few weeks ago, Facebook mishaps happen to everyone. As today’s Free Advice Friday post, Clairemont intern, Margot Horgan asks the question: would you sue over a Facebook photo? Read Margot’s advice below for an alternative course of action that is likely less stressful and certainly less expensive than filing a lawsuit…

Whether you are in the background of a picture acting in a less than socially acceptable behavior, or, cringe, are photographed with not one, but two chins, as Forrest Gump says, “S***t happens.” We can untag these photos or beg a friend to take them offline, but would you sue a friend or family member to get an undesirable photo off Facebook?

Well, that’s exactly what Aaron Olson of Chisago City, Minn. did when his uncle refused to remove an embarrassing childhood photo of Olson from Facebook. After his uncle told him that if he didn’t like the photos he “should stay off Facebook,” Olson sued his dear old Uncle Randall for harassment.

However, Judge Natalie Hudson from the Minnesota district court ruled that, “To constitute harassment, words must have a substantial adverse effect of the safety, security or privacy of another. Comments that are mean and disrespectful, couple with innocuous family photos, do not affect a person’s safety, security or privacy—and certainly not substantially so.”

So after this ruling, we are all forced to accept that family-teasing and ridicule is fair game at the dinner table—and on Facebook. Our advice? Take it in stride. If you can’t laugh at yourself, what can you laugh at? If someone posts an obscenely embarrassing photo, be the first to make a joke about it, and that picture won’t be nearly as bad.

Besides if you wage war against a friend or a family member, you might end up being described like this in that person’s obituary.

What do you do when an embarrassing photo is posted on Facebook? Untag it and beg for it to be taken offline, or make fun of yourself? If your sense of humor allows for the latter, let’s see those links to G-rated embarrassing photos in our comments section… after all, I’ve already shared mine!



(3) awesome comment(s)...

  • Margot Horgan - Reply

    February 29, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Why thank you everybody! I can either of y’alls hair anytime you need me!

  • Ashely Hurteau - Reply

    February 24, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    LOVE THIS! Especially love the picture!

    • Dana Hughens - Reply

      February 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm

      I know, Ashely! I think the photo is adorable, but Margot doesn’t agree.

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