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Facebook, Friend of Divorce Lawyers 494

Posted by kdawson
from the data-honey-pot dept.
crimeandpunishment writes "A lot of Facebook users going through divorces have learned a very costly lesson about their privacy settings. In fact, for many of them their Facebook pages helped lead to the divorce in the first place. More than 80% of the members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers say they've used or run into evidence gathered from Facebook and other social networking sites over the last five years — and some of them have some very entertaining stories to tell. 'Facebook is the unrivaled leader for turning virtual reality into real-life divorce drama,' said AAML's president."
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Facebook, Friend of Divorce Lawyers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:06AM (#32728836)

    That's all there is to it.

    ZipKid

  • Rule 1. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:10AM (#32728866) Journal
    Rule 1. of the internet, if you want it private... DON'T post it.
  • by gavron (1300111) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:16AM (#32728912)

    People who cheat have one thing to blame, and to find it they need only look in the mirror.

    FaceBook does not cause divorces. Divorce lawyers don't cause divorces.

    Cheaters who get caught and don't change their behavior cause divorces.

    If you promised someone your fidelity, and if you have broken that promise, look in the mirror to see whom to blame.

    I can't stand hypocrites who don't take responsibility for their actions.

    And cheaters.

    Ehud
    Tucson AZ
    P.S. Please don't mod me down. It's my birthday this year.

  • Re:Rule 1. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:23AM (#32728978)
    Which effectively means, don't post anything on the Internet. You never know when something that seems innocent might some day be something you would have preferred to keep private.
  • by Abstrackt (609015) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:27AM (#32729000)

    ...attorneys are not interested into people posting on Slashdot. Can you guess why ?!?

    Better privacy settings?

  • Stupidity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:27AM (#32729002)
    Seriously, for centuries, people carrying on secret affairs would go to great lengths to maintain their secrecy. The Kama Sutra even recommends that cryptography be used, and provides a cipher, to help protect messages sent between lovers. What kind of idiot would post anything related to an adulterous affair anywhere on Facebook?
  • What about the cheaters who get divorced in order to marry their other lover?

    If that's the type of person they're going after, they'll quickly discover what it's like to be on the "cheated" side.

  • by Kiaser Zohsay (20134) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:40AM (#32729146)

    As a rule though, infidelity anywhere is just plain stupid,

    FTFY

  • by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:41AM (#32729158) Journal
    This may earn me some negaitve karma, but so be it.

    Oh yes, because people who cheat are ALWAYS bad, and it has nothing to do with the fact that their partner might be completely unsuitable for them and/or positively damaging to them. I *love* black and white morality. I thought we had some people that appreciate shades of grey on /.

  • by Tom (822) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:44AM (#32729174) Homepage Journal

    Cheaters who get caught and don't change their behavior cause divorces.

    Uh, no. In the same sense that you post above.

    People who file for divorce cause divorces.

    If you promised someone your fidelity, and if you have broken that promise, look in the mirror to see whom to blame.

    As a matter of fact, even the traditional christian marriage vow does not contain faithfulness. Look it up.

    Now if your vow actually did contain these words then yes. In which case it is breaking your word that is causing all the trouble, and that could be on sex, but also on a lot of other things.

    So on the traditional marriage, one could say that breaking an unspoken expectation of one party is what caused the breakup. Yes, it is a very common expectation. You'd be surprised at the small percentage of people who actually voiced it.

    And then, of course, we could go down the road of "it wasn't the cheating, it was the finding out about it that caused the divorce", because there are tons and tons of marriages where one partner cheats or cheated that are still perfectly intact, because the other one doesn't know.

    What all that leads up to is very simply: There are no simple answers. Relationships and their involved commitments and emotions are too complicated and interrelated for simple answers. What makes one, breaks another. What one partner sees as the root cause, the other sees as the reaction to something else.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:46AM (#32729196) Journal
    Oh, and one more thing: Magically somehow force everybody you know to think before they share.

    No big deal.
  • Oh, come ON! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Guru Meditation (12823) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:46AM (#32729208)

    "-- Husband goes on Match.com and declares his single, childless status while seeking primary custody of said nonexistent children."

    And THAT amounts to some degree of 'evidence' in court? Really, WTF? Since he's eeking custody, the being 'single' part is assumably correct. As for the childless status. Debatable, since he obviously does not have custody (yet). Besides that, I'm not going to buy drinks for every 'childless' single in a random bar who turns out to have at least one.

    And then:
    "-- Husband denies anger management issues but posts on Facebook in his "write something about yourself" section: "If you have the balls to get in my face, I'll kick your ass into submission." "
    If that, in court, is evidence of 'anger management issues' then I'm VERY glad I live on the other side of the pond. Taking remarks in a profile THAT serious is simply retarded.

  • Re:Stupidity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:48AM (#32729218) Homepage Journal

    The same kind of idiot who posts all the rest of their life on social networking sites.

    The vast majority of people today simply neither want nor understand privacy.

  • by Vectormatic (1759674) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:48AM (#32729222)

    not having a facebook page to start with is a good start.

    It becomes somewhat harder to find damaging fotos on your friends' pages if they arent conviently linked in your own page

    Still you have a very valid point though...

  • by rastilin (752802) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:49AM (#32729228)

    This may earn me some negaitve karma, but so be it. Oh yes, because people who cheat are ALWAYS bad, and it has nothing to do with the fact that their partner might be completely unsuitable for them and/or positively damaging to them. I *love* black and white morality. I thought we had some people that appreciate shades of grey on /.

    Why wouldn't they get a divorce first?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:51AM (#32729256)

    As a matter of fact, even the traditional christian marriage vow does not contain faithfulness. Look it up.

    forsaking all others...

  • by Kiaser Zohsay (20134) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:52AM (#32729260)

    Marriage should not restrict you to have sex to only one person in any way

    Ummm, yeah, that's what marriage IS. Everybody's not cut out for it. If you want to play the field, don't get married.

    (or have your marriage broken with the person being 'cheated on' getting all your money).

    If you are worried about someone taking your money, then don't get married. Do we see a pattern forming here? Yes. Yes, we do.

  • by jamesh (87723) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:55AM (#32729308)

    Marriage should not restrict you to have sex to only one person in any way

    If you said "to the exclusion of all others" or something to that effect when you took your wedding vows then yes it should. Otherwise you are cheating the other person out of what they signed up for.

    If you want to have an open marriage then go right ahead and do whatever works for you, but don't tell other people what works for them because that's just dumb.

    And if you got married on the basis that you would only have sex with your partner and then change your mind, at least be honest about it. It's the not being honest about it that makes it "cheating".

  • by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:58AM (#32729330) Journal
    I'm guessing that you've never been through the potentially multiple years long and extremely expensive process.
  • by nixNscratches (957550) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @08:59AM (#32729344)
    There are lots of views on morality, but for me personally, I'd say yes, cheating is ALWAYS bad, because above all, it's dishonest. More than that though, you are cheating yourself, and your professed parter, and even your person on the side out of a chance at a real love relationship. If you have real and significant problems with your spouse, get those issues out in the air. If they can't be worked on between the two of you, get some counseling, or get some papers filed. It's really that simple. "Staying together for the kids" only teaches the children that abuse and unhappiness are okay as long as you can justify it to yourself. Besides, they learn almost everything about love relationships by watching their parents. If you don't love someone, but you're staying with them anyway, expect your kids will do the same until or unless they learn better. It's a complex problem to be sure, mainstream media has stressed the fairy tale courtship, where the magic of love is all about finding the right person. Unfortunately most people find out falling in love and living in love can be rather different. If you find the right person though, and you inspire each other to each be the right person for one another then you may wake up every day feeling like you are the luckiest person alive.
  • by kidgenius (704962) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:02AM (#32729390)

    As a matter of fact, even the traditional christian marriage vow does not contain faithfulness. Look it up.

    Let's see....something in Genesis if I recall pertained exactly to this. Something about adultery....I think it was one of ten ideas, or laws, or fuzzy warm feelings, or something like that. Maybe commandments? Who knows, the Bible isn't really worth anything really to a Christian marriage....

  • by rastilin (752802) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:05AM (#32729428)

    I'm guessing that you've never been through the potentially multiple years long and extremely expensive process.

    You're saying that it makes more sense to go behind your partner's back than to tell them because it's too hard to be straight?

  • by jamesh (87723) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:07AM (#32729454)

    So yea - if you had an account and deleted it for whatever reason, i'd like to hear.

    I'm keeping mine. You can find out why on my facebook page :)

    Seriously though, facebook is whatever you make of it. Sounds like you made a bit of a mess. If you post anything on there that you wouldn't want _everyone_ in the world to see (not that they'd really care) then you're doing it wrong.

  • by jridley (9305) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:10AM (#32729488)

    Ummm, yeah, that's what marriage IS.

    Weird definition of marriage. I don't think marriage is only and strictly a pledge of monogamy. Marriage, strictly speaking, is a binding contract. Beyond that, it's up to the couple to define what it is. Marriage vows vary, even if held in a religious institution the official (minister) are fairly flexible about what the couple wants in the vows. I know a number of couples with open marriages; are they not married? Some have been married for decades and have kids and great relationships.

  • by Heian-794 (834234) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:11AM (#32729500) Homepage

    From the article:

    Think of Dad forcing son to de-friend mom, bolstering her alienation of affection claim against him.

    -- Husband goes on Match.com and declares his single, childless status while seeking primary custody of said nonexistent children.

    -- Husband denies anger management issues but posts on Facebook in his "write something about yourself" section: "If you have the balls to get in my face, I'll kick your ass into submission."

    -- Father seeks custody of the kids, claiming (among other things) that his ex-wife never attends the events of their young ones. Subpoenaed evidence from the gaming site World of Warcraft tracks her there with her boyfriend at the precise time she was supposed to be out with the children. Mom loves Facebook's Farmville, too, at all the wrong times.

    Three examples in a row of husbands/fathers being in the wrong before we finally get one where the wife is the lying one (and in that one, the mother's guilt is established at the end of the paragraph)? Here's a hint, journalists: don't make your readers wade through half an article of one-sidedness before tying to inject a little balance. Had I not kept at it, I would have thought that this was yet another hit piece on fathers, who seem to have no way of standing up to the pro-wife, pro-mother, pro-woman mainstream media. Fathers don't cheat any more than mothers do, and don't deserve the bad press they always seem to get. No wonder young men are refusing to get married these days.

  • by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:14AM (#32729540)
    Aye 'tis true, FB just amplified the assholish dickishness of people. Well, that and the unsubstantiated belief that people actually care about such stupid trivialities. Then Twitter came in and went even further with people tweeting about their bowel movements.
  • by Kiaser Zohsay (20134) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:14AM (#32729542)

    It may violate your ethics, moral guidelines, religion or what-have-you. But it is not stupid.

    Cheating is not about ethics or morals or religion. It's not even about sex. Its about your commitment (or lack thereof) to your spouse, and to all of the other people in your marriage (kids, in-laws, parents, neighbors, etc.). And if you are not smart enough to find an acceptable outlet for your biological urges, I would have to say that's pretty stupid.

  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:21AM (#32729636) Journal

    Ummm, yeah, that's what marriage IS.

    No, it isn't.

    Of course I have no sympathy for people being unfaithful. But there is the question to people who have open relationships (which doesn't have to be "playing the field", it also includes long term multiple relationships with perhaps just one other person, rather than with large numbers of different people) - even though it's open and consensual, if the relationship then turns sour for other reasons, could the existence of a relationship with someone else be used against that person?

    Saying "they shouldn't get married" isn't an answer, as that means they can't get the rights that other married people are entitled to.

  • by garcia (6573) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:26AM (#32729702) Homepage

    Ummm, yeah, that's what marriage IS. Everybody's not cut out for it. If you want to play the field, don't get married.

    No, that's what marriage is to an individual with a religious background. For the rest of us it's a legal agreement between two people which supposedly brings some sort of perceived tax benefit which I have never seen (we pay out far more now that we're married), rights to share insurance, and rights of property and debt exchange after death.

    Stop trying to confuse what marriage really is with what you want it to be.

  • by Dexter Herbivore (1322345) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:38AM (#32729878) Journal
    OK, so *your* definition of marriage is the only one? Monogamy is an implied principle of *most marriages, but I do have a fair number of friends that play the field while married, under various rules. Don't try to restrict everyone else to your definition of a societal norm.
  • by Radtoo (1646729) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:39AM (#32729896)
    Actually, I doubt this statement. Humanity is not, by nature, only interested in a single partner - as should be quite evident. Forcing people to "promise fidelity" in relationships for them to be socially sanctioned is one of the modern social fallacies. Cheating is no less or more rational than having sex or offspring - it is all instincts.

    Just because societies of old were incapable to control diseases (which apparently easily transmit during sexual intercourse) and organize good care for kids or alternatively do safe abortions by other means, it does not mean monogamy is a law of nature or should be a rule in modern society...
  • by Kiaser Zohsay (20134) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:45AM (#32729976)

    "Cheating" is called cheating for a reason [wiktionary.org]. Cheating is breaking the rules. In marriage, there are a number of rules, some traditional (the vows), some legal (pre-nups, adultery, alienation of affection), but most of the rules are agreed upon by the spouses (you take out the trash, and I do the laundry).

    If the spouses agree to an open marriage, then sex with other partners is not cheating. By agreement, the rules allow for it. In this context cheating is when you do something that you said you wouldn't do.

    In which case it is breaking your word that is causing all the trouble, and that could be on sex, but also on a lot of other things.

    Agreed.

    There are no simple answers.

    I respectfully disagree. The simple answer is "Keep Your Word", or even more simply "Don't Be an Asshole".

  • by silentcoder (1241496) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:48AM (#32730030) Homepage

    >What about the cheaters who get divorced in order to marry their other lover? Is their partner on the hook for that?

    Sometimes.

    There is no real universal here. Imagine X and Y are married. X is abusive. Y meets the very cute Z and sees just how different things can be with somebody who actually respects and cares for you. X lashes out once more one night, Y jumps in the car and drives off to seek comfort with friend Z. Holding each other, crying and consoling and maybe having alcohol- one thing leads to another and Y sleeps with Z.
    Y comes home and demands a divorce from X.

    Do you really want to tell me that Y and Z did anything wrong here ? Technically they cheated but I lay the blame for their failed marriage squarely before the door of X.

    And before you ask, not only do I know several people who went through this exact story, I'm one of them.

    Of course I'm sure my X (see the clever pun there) would have a different version, but then X was never particularly good at telling the difference between reality and wishful thinking. The abuse in that case in fact, was most frequently based on the believe that you can turn the real world into whatever you demand it be by shouting, hitting, dehumanizing and withholding sex from anybody who dares to love you.
    Well suffice to say - sooner or later, that person stops loving you if you do that, and realizes that whatever the hell you may feel for him or her isn't love. If it takes another kinder, gentler person to show him or her that - then I still fail to see how you can blame that divorce on the people cheating.

    I'm not concerned with privacy writing this - male abuse happens as much as female abuse but is hardly ever talked about, so I make a point of talking about it, because it may encourage somebody else to do the right thing and leave before the day you hit back. Hell I wrote an article (under my own name) for a major woman's magazine about it.
    Besides, my divorce is long finished and hardly a secret so it's not like it's going to have any negative consequences for me.

  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:51AM (#32730094)

    I've been through it twice. Both times it cost less than $200. Both times took less than a week. Divorce is only as messy as the two parties make it.

  • by tehcyder (746570) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:52AM (#32730110) Journal

    I tend to think that so long as you are empowered to share or not to share then all is well. With Facebook this is not the case. My sister shared a reasonably embarrassing photo of me with some mutual friends (some of which I work with) which was then shared with my whole building by whatever networking effect took over - nice!. I was not in control of this.

    There are other ways of sharing photos via the internet that do not involve Facebook. If you sacrifice security and/or privacy for convenience, that is your problem (or in this case your sister's).

    Amazingly enough, there is not yet a law that states you *have* to have an account with Facebook and you *have* to share every detail of your life on it.

  • by oldspewey (1303305) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:55AM (#32730168)
    How do you police the photos uploaded (and tagged) by others?
  • Re:Absolutely... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @09:59AM (#32730232)
    Simpler solution: don't use Facebook at all.
  • Re:Oh, come ON! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Guru Meditation (12823) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @10:07AM (#32730364)

    Sorry, but no. It doesn't even do that. It's the same false reasoning as assuming that playing war-games supports a theory that somebody is a violent person. It's even far worse than that, and comes IMHO more to the level of confusing the character an actor plays with the actual person. Online profiles are *riddled* with 'funny', witty and over-exaggerated remarks. Using those as even the remotest idea of 'evidence' proves only one thing: The one using them as such doesn't have even a beginning of a clue.

    If even half of what's mentioned in the article is really true, and the 'evidence' taken at the face value the article leads you to believe, then the legal system in the USA is in a far worse shape than I could possibly imagine.

  • Re:Evidence, how? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jvkjvk (102057) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @10:20AM (#32730568)

    Fourth, who determines when a parent is "supposed to be out with the children". As a parent, if I want to sit at home and play Warcraft, there's nothing wrong with that and that is no indictment of my parenting skills.

    There damn well is if your child happens to be performing in the school play at the time!

    You are "supposed to be out with the children" when they have plays, concerts, etc., not at home playing WOW.

    You are "supposed to be out with the children" when they have little league, or parent teacher conferences, not at home playing WOW.

    Now, there may be no hard and fast rule about when you are "supposed to be out with the children" and it seems that many people today have your attitude. Your rights to go play WOW do not trump your childrens' rights to an adequate developmental environment.

    Either get that or don't have kids.

    Regards.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @10:30AM (#32730728)

    Oh, and one more thing: Magically somehow force everybody you know to think before they share. No big deal.

    It's not a big deal if you don't have stupid toolbags who will "share" things about you on your friends list.

    If you have friends who actually know you on Facebook, some of them will post things about you. Tag your name in a picture at a party. Mention that they saw you in Santa Fe. Mention the "business associate" they saw you with Thursday. They won't realize it's potentially sensitive information, because under the right conditions any piece of info about you could be sensitive.

    The only way to prevent that, if you're going to have a Facebook account at all, is to not have your picture there (a lot of people don't post their pic, some post avatars for their pic). And to have a common name. Multiple accounts helps, especially if your life is compartmentalized (the people you know at work don't overlap with the people you know at home). Posting bogus info helps (not all of my accounts shows the same birthday/city/school). Poison the data well with disinformation, as many incorrect "facts" as you can get away with, and it lessens the trustworthiness of all the rest. Link to random things that have nothing to do with you.

  • by phyrexianshaw.ca (1265320) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @10:33AM (#32730764) Homepage
    Thank you.

    That's one of the most human posting's I've read in a while.

    similar stories have happened to close friends of mine, and every single time I defend their actions, because I know how hard a decision like that can be, yet how required it can be to make.
  • Or at the very least, be an unrepentant asshole. Be an honest asshole. Be an honest non-asshole. Don't be a cheater. Then you can fully enhance your social life by using the tools the internet provides, without having to worry about who may see your life, because you have no shame. Live free.
  • by radtea (464814) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @11:41AM (#32731838)

    So what exactly is commitment?

    "Commitment" is one of those code-words people use, like "morality" or "good". In each case they implicitly attach a very specific, concrete meaning to a very abstract term, and for the most part are unable to grasp that anyone else might have a different concrete instantiation of that term.

    In the case of "commitment" they generally mean "commitment to not have sex with anyone else." Sexual monogamy is so deeply embedded in people's heads that they can't conceive of a notion of "commitment" that doesn't include it. They also, as other posters have pointed out, identify sex with love, and sexual fidelity with "true love".

    In fact, those of us who have discovered true love know that sexual fidelity has nothing to do with it, and may even be opposed to it. Being in an open relationship only works if your love for each other is absolute, because only then do you trust each other to go have fun however you please, secure in the knowledge that at the end of the day (or night) you'll come back together, in no small part because the sex is so much better with someone you genuinely love (and even moreso when it's not the only meal on the menu...)

    I think for many couples sexual fidelity involves a kind of reversal of cause and effect. People in open relationships stay together because they want to be together, and their love is not threatened by the involvment of others. Many people in closed relationships try to emulate that by creating artificial boundaries against anything that might tempt them to leave. But people who genuinely love each other don't need those boundaries or artificial constraints.

    In my mind the "open" in "open relationship" means more than just being free to have sex with other people: it also means a commitment to be open with each other about who you are, what you want and what (or who) you're doing. That "commitment to openness" is what I mean by commitment, the exact opposite of the "commitment to closedness"--in every respect--that so many people seem to mean by it.

  • by cowscows (103644) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @11:57AM (#32732088) Journal

    What's the point of playing a sport, considering the high probability that your team might lose? What's the point of starting a business, considering that most new businesses end up failing? What's the point of having kids, considering the high probability that they'll one day die?

    Everything has risks and rewards. It's up to the individual to prioritize the rewards and judge the risks before making their decision.

    I've only been married a few years, but it has been great so far, and the thought of having this amazing person around for the rest of my life compares pretty well to the potential suffering that I might have to go through if our marriage falls apart.

  • If X treats Y as chattel, or as the target of abuse, one might argue that the relationship is no longer one of love and respect; all that remains is the legal aspects of marriage, rather than the moral ones. I agree that it's better to end that too before starting anew, but most humans tend not to do that.

  • by zerospeaks (1467571) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:51PM (#32733810) Homepage
    In the article she says "you can't really fake a facebook page" Of course you can! Wait..... I think I see a whole new industry!
  • by mea37 (1201159) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:56PM (#32733898)

    If someone else was in possession of the pictures that were shared, then those pictures were not your private information. Your beef should be with your sister, not Facebook.

    Oh, and people don't need social networking sites or physical contact with everyone in your building to prank you by distributing photos you don't want distributed. That kind of thing has gone on for decades.

  • by jimicus (737525) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:59PM (#32733956)

    Amazingly enough, there is not yet a law that states you *have* to have an account with Facebook and you *have* to share every detail of your life on it.

    Whether or not the OP had a Facebook account wasn't actually mentioned. It was his sister who shared the pictures.

    How exactly do you prevent this from happening?

  • by snowgirl (978879) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @07:22PM (#32738446) Journal

    I've been through it twice. Both times it cost less than $200. Both times took less than a week. Divorce is only as messy as the two parties make it.

    Well, actually one party can decide nearly unilaterally to make it a big deal.

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