18-year-old Jacob Cox-Brown was feeling pretty good about himself. He drank a lot, he drove, and he got home with minimal damage—only two nearby cars were hit. So he did the only logical thing that our over-sharing generation would do. He bragged about it on Facebook.
"Drivin drunk... classsic ;) but to whoever's vehicle i hit i am sorry. :P."
Even through he threw in a smiley with the tongue, two of his friends didn't find the post to be that funny, and they contacted the Astoria, Oregon police department to point them to the messages. The authorities arrested Cox-Brown on two charges.
The police issued a press release that read: "Astoria Police have an active social media presence. It was a private Facebook message to one of our officers that got this case moving, though. When you post...on Facebook, you have to figure that it is not going to stay private long."
Cox-Brown has been charged with two counts of failing to perform the duties of a driver. These, presumably, include not hitting other vehicles.
Here's my problem: If Cox-Brown did drive drunk and hit two cars, then he's an asshole that deserves to be prosecuted appropriately. But what's kind of horrifying about this is that we don't actually know if Cox-Brown did drive drunk before posting to Facebook. Even though he's not being charged with drunk driving specifically, will others in the future who say stuff like this online be charged, or at least investigated? Even if they're kidding?
What's really ironic is that Cox-Brown's story comes one week after Mark Zuckerberg's sister flipped out when an innocent photo she posted became public. Everyone laughed then about the audacity of Zuckerberg freaking... but it shows that she sees the social network different from, say, the Astoria police which said today that "When you post...on Facebook, you have to figure that it is not going to stay private long."
Translation: No one, from the police to the family of the social network's founder, knows what the limits of privacy online are anymore.
(Of course, there's also the issue of one teenager doing something stupid and because of its uniquness, it's now blown up into a national news story... But that's a whole different story.)