Social Media Prenups Face Loopholes With Snapchat & MySpace
With celebrities paving the way in the field of disposable unions and focusing more on the end of things versus love-for-love sake, it's been no surprise that this demographic would embrace yet another means to hurt the one you're with, while lining the pockets of greedy divorce attorneys the world over.
In an ABC report, it was noted that over 80 percent of U.S. divorce lawyers see social networking in divorce proceedings on the rise, according to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Randy Kessler, an Atlanta-based divorce attorney and the former chair of the family law section of the American Bar Association, said social media is “the most frequent new issue” that comes up in divorce proceedings."
However there are two social media platforms where this newly-added prenuptial clause doesn't cut the mustard. One is old and one is new.
Loophole No #1
As disposable as marriages have become, so has the zeitgeist of much of today's culture. Snapchat's premise, with its disappearing messaging feature have capitalized on this paradigm and has raised mega-bucks in funding as a result, while rebuffing a $3 billion dollar offer from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg.
So, since this app allows for a status update to appear and fade into oblivion all within the course of 7 seconds, how do does litigation handle this loophole.
Since the reason for the prenups is to circumvent the psychological damage inflicted by one spouse onto the other, it would stand to reason that 7 seconds of damage is still harm. Perhaps a formula could be devised, based on the amount of time visible to the public coupled with number of followers on has-- and then a monetary sum could be determined by percentages.
For instance, an inappropriate status update on Facebook or a tweet on Twitter is said to cost $50K, according to Ann-Margaret Carrozza, a New York-based attorney who specializes in estate planning. Dependent on the wealth of the two parties, she provided an example of a couple living in New York City who make an income just shy of $5 million. in that case, she composed a prenup where the social media clause could seek damages from the guilty party to the tune of "$50,000 per episode." Quite an expensive tweet don't you think? -- let alone, Twitter doesn't see a dime off that transaction!
So extrapolating a formula for Snapchat based on that precedent, wouldn't it be the job of Carrozza to now figure out what 7 seconds of exposure from someone's account who broadcasted that same message to 1000 followers? And what about the individual who has 100,000 follower? Would that cost 100 times more? Something to think about.
Loophole No #2And how about MySpace? You know, that network whose bright light dimmed when it was eclipsed by Facebook's soaring popularity almost ten years ago.
Well according to Kevin Herrington, the supposed-inventor of the 'informercial' and ex-Shark from the hit TV show, Shark Tank, like "Frankenstein," the MySpace monster of yesteryear has been resurrected by pop icon Justin Timberlake to rear its ugly head one more time.
Almost appearing as a blackmail tactic, MySpace just released an ominous marketing campaign that's targeting old users via email with a veiled promise/threat that opens with a greeting addressed to "the good, the rad, and the what were you thinking," and includes the user's old photos -- all with the intention of luring them to back to the fold.
MySpace counters the criticism by insisting this initiative was devised to reach out to an untold number of "current and past users to re-engage them through a personalized experience."
Few things capture your attention like an embarrassing photo that your spouse may have taken of you and uploaded on MySpace almost a decade ago.
So how do the divorce attorney handle this one? Do they include a caveat to their social media prenup clauses that addresses historical postings by your spouse? If that be the case, shouldn't there be a bar set for a statue of limitations as to just how far back your spouse can go to sue you for stuff you posted after a one-night stand or drunken stupor ten years ago. MySpace has 15 billion user photos in its database. That's a lot of potential litigation waiting to happen.
Word to the wise, when you get around to formulating your social media prenup, make sure to disallow Snapchat and MySpace updates from coming into play. Better to cover these loopholes in advance versus having lawyers run rough shod over you after your next disposable marriage. For instance, I'm sure Mr. Timberlake doesn't want to be reminded by his soon-to-be ex-wife Jessica Biel (just guessing) any time soon, that his 1990's 'boy band' hairstyle reminded her and the public of dry Ramen Noodles. Justin, what we're you thinking?