When you need to advertise an event, ask advice, or seek out a used couch, a social network is an ideal place to reach out to your extended community, but, what if you need a hit man? For Corey C. Adams of Pennsylvania, posting an ad looking for a murderer for hire seemed like a resourceful idea when he was in crunch, proving an important point about social web: social networking might be smart, but some of its users are downright stupid.
The story began in June 2010 when Adams was accused of raping a twenty year old woman after she left a party. While she went to police, Adams went home, turned on his computer, and went on Facebook. The victim claims Adams put up a posting which offered $500 for a “girls head”, but Adams didn’t stop there. According to West Chester Police Det. Stan Hillie, Adams posted a second message which read “needed this girl knocked off right now”.
In later interviews, Adams claims the postings were emotional reactions to the rape accusations. Whatever the motivation for Adams’ postings, the consequences for his thoughtless and disturbing postings are significant. As stated by his lawyer, Adams “certainly limited the defenses that were available to him’ by his public postings,” and “could have faced 35 to 70 years in jail.” However, just as friends don’t let friends update Facebook status while intoxicated, Adams’ lawyer guided him to take a plea agreement for the rape and the solicitation to commit murder charges. He is yet to be sentenced, but he could face 11-20 years in prison.
While Adams’ is getting what he deserves, his case provides a magnified social networking cautionary tale. Social media is a record, and whether posting disparaging remarks about an ex, complaints about a mother in law, or advertising your “sick day” from work spent at Disneyland, social media is a paper trial. User beware; anything you post or tweet, may be used against you in a court of law.