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Using Social Media to Track Deadbeat Parents

Using Social Media to Track Deadbeat Parents

Are you an avid user of social media? If so, I fervently hope you plan to keep up with your child support payments. Criminal investigators will use whatever means at their disposal in order to catch deadbeat dads, and this would include examining the Facebook and Twitter universe to see if they have a presence there. Message: if you use Facebook and don’t pay for your baby’s child support, you WILL get caught. Here are some examples:

Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

A man in Milwaukee County found out the hard way that social media can do a person in after he failed to make any child support payments for a total of three years. The man was finally busted in February 2013 after someone tipped off the local district attorney’s office about the nature of the man’s Facebook posts. Interestingly enough, the man actually had numerous photos of liquor bottles and cash plastered all over his social media profile. If he had enough money to have wads of cash and buy liquor then he definitely had enough to pay his child support.

Arizona

This state has began to aggressively target deadbeat dads on social media in another way: if you fail to pay your child support, you can expect to have your face plastered all over Facebook. Governor Doug Ducey, himself a father of three, called out deadbeat dads in his latest State of the Union address: “For too long, you have been able to remain anonymous – able to skirt your financial and legal responsibilities with no shame. Not anymore,” Ducey said.

Nova Scotia

Novia Scotia maintenance enforcement workers are looking to harness the power of social media in new ways in order to make deadbeats pay up. Currently, the only way they are able to notify anyone is through the mail or by phone. These Canadian officials are looking to change what counts as a notification to emails or private messages on Facebook. So there! Even in Canada you can run but you can’t hide. The time is now to pay up or face public shaming at its finest in this day and age.

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Going Offline – How to Remove Yourself From Social Media

Going Offline - How to Remove Yourself From Social Media

In the days of oversharing, removing yourself from social media can be one of the most rebellious yet satisfying acts that one can undertake. However, it can be surprisingly difficult to erase all traces of your digital footprint. Here are some of the steps you’ll need to take in order to make your online presence disappear.

Although you may be chomping at the bit to delete everything right away, make sure that you take special care to go over the instructions for deletion. Some social media platforms, such as Facebook, offer you two options for quitting—”suspending” or “deleting.” If you are looking to remove every trace of yourself from social media, then you will want to choose the latter option. Also, Facebook does allow you to go through your profile and download items before doing a deletion.

However, it is important to note that you may need to reach out to your Facebook friends and ensure that they have deleted all photos of you. With facial recognition technology becoming so precise, it is imperative that the photos be actually deleted from the system if you truly do not want them associated with you in any way. Furthermore, many pictures can be geotagged, allowing prying eyes to discover if you were in a certain place at a certain time. The only way to ensure privacy going forward is to completely delete them from the system.

Also, consider the apps that you have connected to Facebook before you delete it completely. You may need to create other logins for these apps now that you are getting rid of Facebook. Keep an eye on apps such as Tinder. Even if you delete it from your phone, the app will still be connected to your social media profile. It must be deleted from within the actual app. The sooner you take care of all these minor issues, the easier it will be to transition out of social media entirely.

Although Twitter and Instagram offer a more straightforward deletion process than Facebook does, you still will want to be vigilant and reach out to friends who have tagged you in items that you would like to have removed. Remember to delete Instagram from within the app; deleting it from your phone will not help you to achieve your ultimate goal. Although this whole process can be incredibly time-consuming and will require meticulousness, it will be worth it in the end. These days, there are so many reasons to reclaim your privacy, and removing your digital footprint is an excellent way to begin the process.

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Leaving a False Bad Review Can Land You in Legal Hot Water

Leaving a False Bad Review Can Land You in Legal Hot Water

From Google Places to Yelp, Angie’s List to Healthgrades, people are expressing their opinions on practically everything. In this digital era, reputations are destroyed or strengthened by what people publish online. Major consumer sites such as Amazon and Yelp are dependent on user reviews and content. However, there is no shortage of consumers who use online platforms to settle grudges. Disgruntled consumers often post negative reviews on the sites of businesses or service providers whose products or services fail to live up to their standards. In a counterattack measure, business sites have embarked on a campaign of cracking down on negative and fake reviews.

Read on for information on when a consumer can be sued for a negative review, examples of how posting false or negative reviews can have legal repercussions, and how to engage in safe review practices.

When Can a Consumer Be Sued For a Negative Review

Although the First Amendment protects consumer reviews, a reviewer can be found liable for defamation when they leave false accusations. The right to freedom of speech afforded by the First Amendment is based on whether one is asserting facts or expressing an opinion.

For example, if a consumer says that an organization charges exorbitantly for their products, the business cannot sue them for expressing their opinion or if they do sue, they are likely to fail due to the protections given to consumers by the First Amendment.

However, if a consumer claims that an organization is unlicensed and it turns out to be a false assertion, the business can file a claim of defamation.

Legal Repercussions of Negative Reviews

Jane Perez, an ex-military captain, was not satisfied with the services of her contractor and this led her to post negative reviews regarding him on Angies’s List and Yelp. She remarked how he had done a poor renovation job and how he charged her for tasks he had not done. She warned her fellow consumers not to hire this contractor.

Christopher Dietz, the contractor in question, filed a defamation suit worth $75,000 ordering Perez to rewrite her reviews. Recently, the Virginia Supreme Court overturned that ruling stating that there were no grounds for censuring the reviews but if they were defamatory, Dietz should seek money damages.

While the ruling is considered a victory for the right of expression or speech, it also calls to mind the dangers of posting critical reviews. According to Dietz, the comments made by Perez cost him a significant share of lost business, mental suffering, and a good business reputation. Dietz further claimed that the allegations made by Perez were false and insists he did his job satisfactorily and billed her for the work he had done.

According to Federal Law, websites such as Yelp and Angie’s List are protected from defamation suits, however, the writers, reviewers like Perez, can be held legally responsible for their posts. Perez confessed to the media that when posting her reviews, she never thought she would end up in court for thousands in legal costs and monetary damages. Dietz suit stands at $75,000.

Another case that shows the legal implications of negative reviews involves a Utah couple which posted a negative review about a company. The company demanded $3,500 in damages. When the couple failed to pay, the company regarded the $3,500 as a debt and forwarded their claim to a collection agent. The claim seriously ruined the couple’s credit leading them to sue the company. Whichever way the case goes, the couple would have not been facing court costs, legal fees, a bad credit report, and probably defamation damages, were it not for their bad review.

Safe Review Practices

From the case examples above, it is clear that leaving negative or bad reviews can work against you in the long run. Companies monitor their reviews and watch for false statements. When revenues rely on positive reputations, Kyäni reviews their complaints and customer satisfaction comments closely. To avoid the high cost in damages resulting from posting reviews online, the following are some of the practices you should observe when leaving comments on websites:

Be factual: Stick to your experiences and refrain from generalizations
Give the company or professional a second chance: Before posting a negative review, approach the company and offer it a chance to rectify the situation. Maybe you received a defective product and the company will agree to give you one that is in good condition

Remove the Review: If it boils down to legal action, you are better off apologizing and removing the review. Although you are likely to win if the review was based on factual evidence, court cases are unpleasant endeavors full of surprises.

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