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Why Facebook users reveal too much

There's something that constantly irritates me about Facebook, and all social-networking sites for that matter, and its not the constant requests to join irrelevant groups such as 'Jeremy Clarkson for Prime Minister' or even the ridiculous invites to give virtual drinks to my friends. It's the fact that people often end up sharing too much information - and usually with people they shouldn't.

We all know someone who, when they've had one to many sherries, will insist on sharing too much and being very inappropriate, whether that's telling their boss they hate them at the Christmas party or even their best mate's wife that they fancy them. However, Facebook seems to have made this sort of behaviour possible without the need for the few sherries first.

Take for instance a woman juror who was recently dismissed from Burnley Crown Court after she updated her Facebook status to reveal details of the sexual assault and child abduction case she was sitting on.

If you've taken part in Jury Service, you'll know that every where you look, you're being reminded that you must not discuss any cases you sit on outside the jury room and with anyone who is not sitting on the same jury as you. And just in case you fact the warning that's issued in the 1980s 'What to expect during jury service' documentary you are forced to sit though on your first day, there are World War II-esque posters that remind you that 'careless talk costs lives' or in this case 'careless talk costs you your two weeks paid leave from work'.

So why this juror believed that by posting details of the case on Facebook constituted 'not talking about the details of the case' is beyond me. Did she honestly think that because she typed the words and didn't actually speak them, that she wasn't 'discussing' the case.

She didn't stop there either. She also asked her friends and family if they thought the defendant was guilty - a blatant disregard for the fact that a jury has 12 members, all of whom are expected to come up with their own verdict based on the evidence they hear during the trial and not based on the opinions of their other jurors, friends, family or even the media in some cases.

Do Brits really lack that much common sense that the UK Court Service will have to start reminding potential jurors that discussing the case covers emails, Facebook and Twitter postings as well as physical conversations?

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