In news that will come as a real blow to aunts and uncles across the nation, a Florida court has ruled that Facebook friends are not actually your friends, no matter how many Benghazi memes they post on your wall. The Miami Herald reports that a Miami appeals court ruled Wednesday in a unanimous opinion that despite the complicated and evolving nature of social media connections, “the degree of intimacy among Facebook ‘friends’ varies greatly.” In related news, Aunt Sarah has yet to catch on that our clicking “Interested” in response to her invitation to another of those Horticulture Club meetings is just a polite way of saying, “Not a snowball’s chance in hell.”
The ruling arose as a result of a challenge in a case involving unpaid legal bills. The attorney assigned to represent one of the defendants was a former Miami-Dade circuit judge who was also Facebook friends with the judge assigned to the case. The plaintiff’s lawyers, naturally, asked the judge to recuse herself, saying they feared not being able to receive a fair trial. But the judge, who presumably looked at the social media history of this “friend” and said, “Oh, her? God, I don’t even let her see photos,” refused. The appellate court agreed with the judge, stressing the fact many users have hundreds of online “friends,” many of whom for which they might not even remembering accepting the friend request.
Despite this decision, the Herald notes the question will likely eventually have to be settled by the state Supreme Court, as a different appeals court in Palm Beach—probably chaired by good friends of our Uncle Frank, who also doesn’t seem to get that being Facebook friends doesn’t mean we’re about to let him see our relationship status updates—ruled the contrary, so a superior court decision will be necessary at some point. Still, for the time being, best to just nod and hit “like” on all of Grandma Karen’s posts, and when she shares this story with you and asks if it’s true, give her an “lol” and direct her towards the 1995 Sandra Bullock film The Net as the answer to all her questions.