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Are People Getting Smarter about Facebook?

June 14, 2011

Recently David Voelkert was arrested by the FBI for statements he made on his Facebook account. Specifically, his ex-wife posed as a seventeen year old girl and friended him.  She then got him to admit that he put a GPS device in her car and that he wanted to have her killed.  Initially it sounds like David got suckered, right?

It turns out, he wasn’t quite as naive as it first appeared:

Voelkert spent four days in custody until federal prosecutors moved
yesterday to drop charges against him. He was freed after proving to
investigators that he knew all along that his ex-wife was the one
sending him messages from the “Studebaker” account. Voelkert explained
that he played along with the ruse so that he could use his ex-spouse’s
machinations against her in their custody case.

To support this contention, Voelkert provided FBI agents with a May 25 notarized affidavit
in which he describes receiving a friend request from “Jessica
Studebaker,” whom he suspected was his ex-wife. “I am lying to this
person,” he stated, “to gain positive proof that it is indeed my ex-wife
trying to again tamper in my life.” He added, “In no way do I have
plans to leave with my children or do any harm to Angela Dawn Voelkert
or anyone else.”

The allegedly incriminating Facebook messages sent by Voelkert came on
May 31, six days after his sworn affidavit was notarized. Voelkert kept
one copy of the affidavit, and gave a relative a second copy for
safekeeping.

Personally, I don’t recommend this approach to online issues.  He still spent four days in jail, those statements are still out there to be taken out of context and, well, even though he seems superficially on the right side of this case, he still comes across as someone out for retribution.  Tempting as that may be, I feel that the more sane action is to friend only people you actually know, write only what you are comfortable with the world finding out and keeping your privacy settings at a level where they actually do some good.

Still, it is refreshing seeing that some people aren’t taking every persona they see online at face value.

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