Social media use: what's legal vs. illegal?

Facebook: legal vs. illegal

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Social media sites are widely used as a way to interact with your friends and family, but often times people are using the sites to interact in an inappropriate and sometimes illegal way.

But an inappropriate picture or a hasty status update won't necessarily land someone behind bars.

"People make statements all the time. There's bumper stickers of those things. If somebody has a 'legalize marijuana' bumper sticker, that's not probably cause to make a traffic stop and search that vehicle for marijuana," Horry County Police Sergeant Robert Kegler said.

On Monday morning, 33-year-old Colby Gilliam was arrested in Carolina Forest. The US Marshals say Gilliam posted a comment on a Maryland Sheriff's Department Facebook page. A quick search by detectives showed Gilliam had a warrant for his arrest. Through community tips the US Marshals found Gilliam in Horry County and arrested him

Sergeant Kegler said officers don't go looking for people violating the law on social media sites, but if it's presented to them or they're alerted to it, police will investigate further.

"We're not out there looking for John Doe- at his Facebook page. If there's no reason to look at any type of social media, then we're not. But if it comes to us, then yeah it is a tool that law enforcement uses," Sgt. Kegler said.

Sgt. Kegler said there are certain words and statements that trigger their investigations, those types of social media posts are the ones that could land a person behind bars.

"When people are talking about a criminal act that has occurred, or is going to occur and there's talks of the possibility of people getting hurt, that's when it comes into play," Sgt. Kegler said.

Sgt. Kegler said social media is also a good tool for the community to get involved and reach out to the police department with tips and questions. Police also use it to alert you if a criminal is on the loose, and what you need to be on the lookout for.

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