He may have been acquitted for the murder of Trayvon Martin, but George Zimmerman was just found guilty of breaking Twitter’s rules. The controversy-plagued Floridian who first made headlines in 2012 for shooting and killing the unarmed teen Martin has continued in infamy ever since, consistently making headlines for problematic behavior. Most recently, he took to Twitter to post semi-nude photos of a woman (not reproduced here) he claims is his ex-girlfriend, who he says “cheated on [him] with a dirty Muslim.” Also included in his first tweet (yes there was more than one) was the woman’s alleged phone number.
In a second tweet, Zimmerman asked if he “went too far,” though the question was clearly rhetorical — he then proceeded to post her email address, and accused her of stealing “a gun and cash” from him. Since then, his Twitter account has been suspended.
Zimmerman’s egregious posts are in clear violation of Twitter’s abusive behavior policy, which disallows “inciting others to harass another user,” and also notes, “you may not post intimate photos […] without the subject’s consent.” Less clear, however, is whether or not Zimmerman broke Florida’s recently implemented revenge porn law.
While the Sunshine State is the latest to pass legislation on this illicit material, experts say that Zimmerman seems to have narrowly avoided any direct violations. “Zimmerman’s actions probably do not violate Florida’s revenge porn law. That law only applies to images that depict the person’s nudity or engagement in sexual conduct,” Mary Anne Franks, a law professor at the University of Miami and legislative and tech policy director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, told the Washington Post.
And it seems that Zimmerman was careful to first read the regulations (making the offense even creepier) before posting the semi-nude photos. In another tweet, he noted that “there were never any nude photos posted.”
Still, others have noted that even if Zimmerman gets away with a technicality in Florida, he may have broken some other laws. Coercion, stalking, and harassment are also forbidden in the state, all of which seem to have Zimmerman’s name written all over them. “Zimmerman’s publication of the victim’s personal information like her phone number and email address suggest an intention to incite third parties to contact this woman in a sort of harassment-by-proxy scenario,” Carrie Goldberg, a board member at the Initiative and an Internet privacy and sexual consent attorney told the New York Daily News. “Not only could he be arrested criminally, but this behavior makes a strong case for the victim to obtain an order of protection from family court.”
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