Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Divorce over social media sites? A technical solution doesn't seem to be in the making here, as tracing emails isn't all that easy...
My husband is listed on many social sites such as Orkut, Facebook, and so forth. Because of this and other multiple sites, I'm thinking about a divorce. He claims that he never opened these sites and that someone else is doing it. My question is – can the emails being sent be traced and the computers be traced that sent the emails?
In this excerpt from Answercast #31, I look at a contentious social media situation and the very difficult steps that it would take to resolve it technically.
So, I'm not going to get into the relative merits of Facebook, or whether simply having an account on those services is something to be worried about. Obviously, millions of people do without problem and without issue. I'm assuming that there's more going on with the activity in those accounts than simply having those accounts.
Now, it is absolutely possible that people can set up accounts on social media sites using other people's names. It happens all the time. It really does.
For example, if someone were to go out and create an account for me, for Leo Notenboom, and then make it look like it's me – the email address they would be using would be theirs and not mine. If it were mine, I could go in and I could control the account and I could shut it down and do whatever to it.
So – given that it's their email address; they control the account... and it is not mine.
Now, when it comes down to the emails, it really depends on what emails you're talking about. If you mean emails that are being sent from these services, you're only going to be able to trace it back as far as the service.
If these emails are coming from somewhere else, then yes, sometimes it's possible to trace where they came from – to the level of, perhaps, an IP address.
In other words, in order for email tracing to work, you really have to get law enforcement involved. I suspect that they're going to need a lot more data, a lot more incriminating data, before they would take something like this on.
So, I'm very reluctant to condone simply having an account on Orkut or Facebook as something that is for some reason "bad."
At a minimum, I can at least answer your question and say: Tracing the email in general is going to be impossible at best.
At worst, if something rose to the level of warranting law enforcement or the court's attention:
and... a court order could be issued,
then maybe... it can be traced (if it's the right kind of email from the right kind of place)
or... you can contact Facebook (or the social media providers) themselves directly (with this court order in hand).
Then and only then would you be able to actually get the information that it
appears that you're looking for.
Next from Answercast 31 – My machine doesn't even beep or begin to boot - what do I do?
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