Social Media and No Contact Orders
No contact can be ordered in a variety of forms: Domestic Abuse No Contact Order, Harassment Restraining Order, Order for Protection, and a standard No Contact Order. It can be ordered as a pretrial condition of release, or as a probationary condition. It can also be ordered where no criminal offense has been charged.
Regardless of the form of the order, no contact typically includes language ordering no contact direct, or indirect; via third person or electronic communication. This includes “liking”, “poking”, “tweeting”, “messaging”, or tagging someone on a social media platform. This has also been construed to include social media posts even if not made directly to the protected party. However, the post must be made with the intent, or reason to know it was likely to be communicated to the protected party.
For example, the Court of Appeals held in an unpublished decision that posting an apologetic message on Facebook, with no mention of the protected parties name, and without the intent or reason to know the information would get communicated to the protected party, is not a violation of a no contact order. State v. Petermeier, No. A15-0425, 2016 Minn. App. Unpub. LEXIS 200 (Feb. 29, 2016).
On a similar thread, but in a different context, the Supreme Court has previously held that intent is necessary in the context of threats of violence as well. See Elonis v. United States, 135 S. Ct. 2001 (U.S. 2015).