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Legal Definition of a Facebook 'Friendship'

Are your friends on Facebook actually your friends? According to an appeals court in Florida, "[l]egally, Facebook friends aren't necessarily your friends."

The court dove into this question because of a judge who may have been required to recuse herself from a case—because an attorney involved in that case was friends with the judge on Facebook. However, the court ruled that a recusal was not necessary, as "Facebook data mining and algorithms lead to people accepting friend requests from people they hardly know or who they are only acquainted with in professional circles."

This issue isn't quite finished yet, though, as a Palm Beach appeals court ruled differently on the "friend" definition—meaning "the question over the true meaning of social media friendship could eventually be decided by the Florida Supreme Court."

Potential Preaching Angles: Our cultural definition of "friend" may have expanded to include the acquaintances (and even near-strangers) we add on Facebook—but may we remember that a true, godly friend "sticks closer than a brother" (Prov. 18:24) and "loves at all times" (Prov. 17:17).

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