Could Hacking Your Friend’s Facebook Land You In Jail?

A new ruling in an Irish court suggests that countries could make the hacking of someone’s Facebook account – even a friend’s – a criminal offense.

Facebook on a Smartphone

You could quite offensively call it a ‘frape’, a portmanteau of Facebook + rape (rape is never a joke, so don’t ever call it this), a ‘Facebook hack’ or ‘a bit of harmless fun’ but there are few things that see us erupt into a fit of hearty giggles like typing “I smell of poo!” into a friend’s status bar and hitting ‘post’. Because we are all 5 years old at heart and that stuff is hilarious. But somewhere along the lines of saying your best friend “has a tiny penis” or tricking your parents into think that your sister’s pregnant, Facebook hacking can take a sinister turn. Sometimes it can be incredibly malicious and even if it’s not mean and is just plain bothersome, there is the chance that it could not only see you hit with a hefty fine, but it could potentially see you ending up in jail.

That’s because of a ruling in a court in the Republic of Ireland. In plenty of countries (the UK and the US included), your Facebook account can already be used against you as evidence of trolling, bullying or harassment as although it’s digital, if it can be attributed to you then it’s fair game for those looking out for the law. However, this case in Ireland takes it further as one man took it upon himself to hack is ex-girlfriend’s Facebook account and post a nasty status update using her phone and after pleading not-guilty to some more serious offenses against the woman, he did plead guilty to the Facebook hacking, facing a $2,700 fine as a result.

A typical offense like this may be considered as a cybercrime, which has its own penalties but here the man was prosecuted under the Criminal Damage Act, which is as if to say that the woman’s Facebook account was her personal property and he vandalised it. The penalty for vandalism is usually a fine, just like the one he got but in the most serious cases of graffiti gone wild (specifically against expansive property) it’s seen people land in the slammer for a few days at a minimum. We’d all like to avoid that though, so if you’ve got something mean to say on someone’s Facebook account, a word of advice is just don’t.

Source: Irish Times

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