Don’t get mad, as the saying goes, get even. That sounds like great personal advice right after a nasty breakup, but it’s not always great legal advice. While you may want to put your ex on blast on social media, putting personal information out there could be illegal.
So what kind of secrets can you reveal on social media, and which might get you into trouble?
Private Facts, Public Forum
Just because you know something about your ex, doesn’t mean the whole world should. Part of building a relationship is trusting that you can confide in another person and that they won’t go telling everyone on Facebook or Twitter. Beyond a betrayal of trust, you could get sued.
There are many ways to make an invasion of privacy claim, and one of them is public disclosure of private facts. While state law can vary on the subject, there are generally 3 elements to a public disclosure of private facts claim:
- The disclosed fact must be a private fact;
- There must be a public disclosure of the private fact(s); and
- The public disclosure of private facts must be offensive to a reasonable person of ordinary sensibilities.
Some states may have additional elements, but if you’re ripping an ex on social media, just know you could be liable for airing their dirty laundry.
One of the more common and odious forms of online retaliation is revenge porn, or posting explicit photos or video of an ex to pornography websites. Beyond being morally reprehensible, the Federal Trade Commission and some states have begun to outlaw the practice, adding criminal penalties for distributing intimate photographs or video that was intended to be private.
So the last thing you should ever do is post an ex’s sexually explicit secrets on social media. If an ex has dished a little too publicly about your private history, you may want to ask an experienced attorney about your options, and keep in mind there may be criminal repercussions to getting even with an ex online.