A Brighton man was held overnight by police yesterday after being arrested for not having a Facebook account. Sussex Police confirmed today that the man, 37, who was questioned for over 16 hours was one of the first in the country to be detained since new laws were introduced in September.
The man, who has not been named, was stopped by police for a random breathalyser test as part of a seasonal drink driving prevention campaign. ‘The test proved negative,’ explained sergeant Mike Norsworthy. ‘However just as I was sending the chap on his way I noticed a Fine Young Cannibals album sticking out of the glove compartment of his vehicle, being a fellow fan I asked for permission to ‘Friend’ him on Facebook. It was then that he confessed to myself and two other officers that he was not in possession of a valid account. Further questions revealed that he was also not on Twitter, LinkedIn or Spotify.
A case was put together for a prosecution under the new social networking laws, but was dropped when the judge hearing the charges asked ‘What’s Facebook?’