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Courts Give Mixed Signals about Privacy in Social Media

06.01.11

Two recent Pennsylvania State Court rulings only make things more confusing as Social Media privacy disputes become more prevalent.

Bucks County Common Pleas Court Judge Albert J. Cepparulo ruled in Piccolo v. Paterson denied a motion to require the Piccolo to accept Patterson as a Facebook friend. In this case Piccolo was injured in an auto accident in which Paterson admitted liability for the accident. When Paterson learned that Piccolo regularly posted updates and photos to her private Facebook page, Paterson asked the Judge to order Piccolo to allow her to be a Facebook friend so Paterson could view updates and photos. The ruling protected Piccolo’s private Facebook updates and photos.

Paterson relied on another Pennsylvania case of McMillen v. Hummingbird Speedway Inc. in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court where McMillen was ordered to provide his Facebook and MySpace users names and passwords. Also the Judge John Henry Foradora,, and “shall not take steps to delete or alter existing information and posts on his MySpace or Facebook account.” McMillen’s lawsuit “alleged substantial injuries, including possible permanent impairment, loss and impairment of general health, strength, and vitality, and inability to enjoy certain pleasures of life.” So when Hummingbird discovered that McMillen’s Facebook and MySpace pages showed that McMillen was posting travel pictures from many locations the Judge concluded that McMillen was not entitled to privacy for his Facebook and MySpace postings.

Stay tuned for more court ruling on Social Media postings!

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