… Then the officer went to Facebook.com, a Web site where students can post profiles and leave messages for one another. Not only did Facebook help him identify Chiles, it also showed that Chiles and Gartner listed each other as friends, suggesting Gartner had lied to police.
There’s something pretty terrifying about police using sites like Facebook (which is like MySpace but focussed on specific educational institutions) to track down criminals, especially when it’s stuff on the scale of peeing in a bush on campus or telling some cops that you don’t know the name of that guy who was just peeing (they gave the urinators buddy a ticket for lying after they verified the friendship on FaceBook). Also, as the article points out, it’s kind of ridiculous that they’d expend so much effort just to give people tickets, which more than anything indicates that there were personal rather than legal motivations for all the background checking on such a stupidly lo-fi crime.
It also reminds me of the reason I never joined Facebook, they are exclusive enough that they only let you join if you have an email from your university (in my case it would be @alcor.concordia.ca) but that means that jerks like these cops or security guards from the school can log in using their work accounts and wreck everyone’s fun, while people like me (who never signed up for a university email account) just leave because it’s not worth the hassle. (Of course MySpace is no better, I’d imagine, as nothing could possibly be worse.)
As a fun bonus to this bit of Kafkaesque news you should probably check out this Daily Show piece (YouTube link) about MySpace which, if nothing else, points out the silliness of putting a lot of weight on the “friendships” exhibited in places like MySpace.