Do Protective Orders Apply to Social Media?

A protective order in Texas is typically used to prohibit someone from harming or threatening you. This primarily concerns physical harm and threats, but it can apply to virtual spaces that include social media. Because a protective order can also prohibit someone from contacting you or your relatives, any manner of contact through social media may be in violation of a protective order.

Protective Orders vs. Restraining Orders

It can be confusing to understand the differences between protective orders and restraining orders in Texas, as many people think they are one and the same. In reality, there are considerable distinctions between them that it is important to understand.

What Is a Protective Order?

A protective order is issued by a judge to prevent someone from engaging in certain activities or behavior, such as physical contact or communication. These types of orders are commonly issued in situations like domestic violence cases, harassment cases, or stalking cases. Protective orders can also include restrictions on where an individual may go and whom they may have contact with; for instance, if an individual has been accused of stalking another person, they could be prohibited from going anywhere near their victim’s residence or place of work.

What Does a Restraining Order Do?

A restraining order, on the other hand, is a court order that limits an individual from taking certain actions. Restraining orders are commonly issued in situations where one person has committed a crime against someone else, and the judge wants to ensure that the defendant doesn’t commit a similar offense or contact the victim in any way. Unlike protective orders, restraining orders can be permanent.

Social Media Behavior Prohibited by a Protective Order

There are many ways to interact with people on the various social media platforms in common use, such as TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. People can directly message others in private, make comments on posts viewable to the public or followers, share a reaction to a post, or be listed among viewers of a temporary story.

If you have a protective order against someone that includes prohibiting contact online, their interactions with you on social media may be a violation of that protective order. That being said, you’ll probably want to take proactive steps to block their accounts or de-list them as one of your followers. This can address your immediate concerns about being contacted through social media, but keep in mind that an abuser may create fake accounts in an attempt to regain access to your social media profiles. Such attempts would also violate a protective order.

We Can Help You Get a Protective Order

If you are going through a family law dispute involving divorce, child custody, or a related legal matter, a protective order can help you regain some peace of mind. When this temporary order is in effect, the person subject to the order may not physically harm or contact you, and you can be protected from their abuse online as well.

Learn more about seeking a protective order by consulting with Kay Polk, Attorney at Law today.