Mark and Elizabeth Byron from Cincinatti were in the process of getting a divorce and fighting over custody of their son. One evening Mark was feeling particularly frustrated about not being able to see his 17-month-old son so he submitted a post to Facebook stating that “all an evil, vindictive woman should do in order to separate her husband from his son and ruin his life is state that she is scared of him”. The post wasn’t meant at Mark’s wife as he had blocked her and she wasn’t able to see it. However, due to their mutual friends commenting on Mark’s post Elizabeth found out about it and informed the court dealing with their divorce case.
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Mark was sentenced to either spend 60 days in jail and pay a $500 fine or re-post an apologetic message to his wife as his Facebook status for 30 consecutive days. The apology was written by the judge and has to be reposted everyday before 9 am. What is more, Mark was forbidden of closing his Facebook account. Even though he has chosen the Facebook apology instead of jail time, Mark is planning to appeal the court order. He also feels it is quite troubling that court can tell you what to say to your chosen group of friends on Facebook. Mark is currently trying to raise awareness on the subject of court depriving a person of their right to freedom of speech.