Man Blames Google+ For Violating His Ex’s Restraining Order By Sending Her An Invite

It’s bad enough when you’ve got friends in common with an ex, thus making it that much more difficult to fully sever the connection when the relationship is over. But one guy says Google+ is even worse and is the reason he found himself in jail for violating a restraining order his ex-girlfriend had against him.

If you use Gmail, odds are you’re also a Google+ user, whether you want to be or not. For some that just means getting a red alert symbol popping up from time to time in the upper righthand corner of your Gmail screen.

Don’t really use it? You’re not alone: As Fast Company points out, Google+ is often viewed as a ghost town, with “users” sometimes shuffling friends from Circle to Circle and notifications that one of your contacts is now on Google+.

That’s where one man says Google+ mucked his situation up. See, after his former girlfriend got an invitation on his behalf to join one of his Google+ Circles, she marched a printed out copy of that invite straight to the police, who arrested the man for violating the restraining order barring contact with her.

The man’s attorney now claims that his client isn’t to blame — he didn’t send the request, he argues. In fact, he “has no idea how the woman … got such an invitation” and suggest it might have been automatically sent or something.

It’s not entirely impossible. Maybe he was putzing around in his Circles and moved her from say, the “Love of my life” Circle to the “Do not contact unless you want to go to jail” Circle. Or perhaps she received the invite simply because they’d emailed on Gmail in the past.

It’s a tricky issue, and one that will have to be left to the court in this case to decide. The man’s case is set to start next month, and it sounds like it could be a bit of a headache for all involved.

“[He] suggested that unlike Facebook, which requires users to select potential friends, he believes Google+ generates invitations for ‘anyone you’ve ever contacted,'” The Salem News reported last month. “A Salem District Court judge admitted he wasn’t sure exactly how such invitations work on Google’s social media site.”

But it could also prove to be a bit of a privacy snafu for Google if automated invites can be triggered simply by the fact that you at one time were on the same email chain as someone or exchanged a few messages here and there, points out Fast Company.

If you’re worried about such a thing happening, it’s best to either ditch Google+ entirely or update your settings so that Google won’t send new users that invite suggesting you add the person to your Circles to “stay connected.”

*Thanks for the link, Roy!


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  1. MarthaGaill says:

    Actually, regarding Facebook, I learned this week that if you message back and forth with someone they are somehow added to your friends. I don’t know the details, if there’s a certain number of messages or if you have to already have friends in common, but a guy from high school recognized and messaged me. I had no intention of adding him, but did exchange a few pleasantries. Suddenly he’s showing up in my news feed and we’re “friends.” No requests sent or accepted. Kind of made me uncomfortable.

    • MarthaGaill says:

      Also, I’ve never had G+ send invites on my behalf, but people I’ve emailed before show up in my suggested list.

  2. FusioptimaSX says:

    Are the auto invites real? I don’t use ZGoogle+ but went to the settings to turn it off and couldn’t find it. Occasionally I’ll get G+ notices that want me to add friends to circles, but I don’t. Google is becimming ever so greedy now anyone w/ a Google account automatically gets G+ no matter what….I’m not happy about that at all. If we liked the product, it would have WORKED, don’t force it on us! Now everyone is pretty much reliant on Gmail so they can use this to boost their numbers, but people still aren’t using it!