Facebook Refuses to Hand Over Private Messages in Oregon Murder Case

There’s a lot of privacy issues surrounding Facebook data and it’s easy to get confused by it all. First, the social media website is giving out too much private information on its users, but in a recent Oregon murder case, it’s not providing enough.

Parrish Bennette is on trial for the shooting and killing of a 14-year-old girl.

Facebook refuses to hand over the private messages sent by a suspect in the murder case. 17-year-old Parrish Bennette Jr. is accused of shooting and killing a 14-year-old girl and then dumping her body in a nearby park. Thaddeus Betz, a Portland public defender believes private messages between him and a couple of his friends could hold key evidence in the case, but Facebook isn’t handing it over.

Betz subpoenaed Facebook for the data, but the company ignored the request.

One of two things can possibly happen. First of all, if Facebook gets held up in contempt of the court for not supplying the messages, it can be required to pay up to one percent of its profits as a penalty. So far, Facebook has already made almost $1 billion in profits for the first 3/4 of 2012. That’s a lot of money. But if Facebook does decide to hand over the data, it could create a precedent for how social media releases private information in the future for legal defense cases.

What do you think? Should Facebook cough up the messages? Or does the suspect have the right to keep them private?

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