Could a Facebook poke put you in the pokey?

By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

pokeA woman in Tennessee was recently arrested for… a Facebook poke. The poke in question violated an order of protection (i.e., restraining order), since an OP prohibits “telephoning, contacting or otherwise communicating with the petitioner.”

This definitely includes electronic communication (I’ve seen judges vehemently remind respondents that it means “no texts!” and “no emails!”). This is obviously important as cyberstalking becomes an increasingly prevalent problem. Though a Facebook poke is pretty much at the very bottom of the communication spectrum, since as the news article pointed out, it “conveys no other message but informing a user they have been ‘poked’ by another user.”

Pokes have always confounded me, to be honest. What does it mean? Could those pokes actually be ominous? I can definitely see how they could be annoyance, however; if it weren’t a violation of a restraining order, then the restrained person could in theory send a thousand pokes a day…

Violating an order of protection in Tennessee is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of 11 months and 29 days in jail, and maximum fine of $2500. The woman arrested had bond set at $1500 and will appear in court at the end of the month.

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2 Responses to Could a Facebook poke put you in the pokey?

  1. I never realised until I read about this story, but it turns out that there is a point to Facebook pokes. If you have your account set to private, then poking someone gives them temporary access to it. That could be useful if you think you know somebody (eg an old school friend) but can't tell from the photo.

  2. even if it's something so little as poking, the fact that there is any kind of contact from the stalker can carry all kinds of psychological things. i mean if you had a restraining order on someone and then got a poke from them on facebook then that sure as hell means that they're still stalking you, even if it's on the web.

    and restraining orders actually help both people. i know this is a silly place to reference… but i read an fml the other day that said that some person accidentally called her stalker even though he had stopped stalking her finally. but since she called he started stalking her again. so what i mean is that by restraining the stalker, maybe he/she will stop being obsessed with the person being stalked?