Social Media as Admissible Evidence in Court

By on June 16, 2020

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

At first glance, social media might seem like nothing more than a fun way to stay in touch with family and friends. Perhaps it’s an integral part of your business’s marketing strategy. Regardless of why you’re posting and sharing, it’s important to know the potential consequences of social media.

In the modern courtroom, social media is widely accepted as admissible evidence. From Whatsapp messages to tweets and Facebook posts, it’s considered public information about individuals and businesses Download ExoHeroes. That photo you threw up on Instagram could affect your case in a court of law.

If you’re anything like the typical social media user, you share a lot on your accounts. However, it’s imperative you know the potential legal ramifications that can accompany posting about the ups and downs of life or expressing personal opinions. Understanding social media privacy and the law is vital for protecting yourself Smart long-term care.

How Social Media Is Used in Court

In the past, judges were skeptical about allowing social media as evidence. But today, social media is admissible evidence in family law cases, criminal proceedings, and nearly everything in between.

Social media evidence is also discoverable, which means that the opposing party has access to it. Just to be clear, social media can be used for or against you in a court case adobe reader 8. That includes private exchanges through a messenger app.

For example, in 2016, there was a court case in Louisiana regarding an employee who filed a workplace injury suit against his employer. However, social media evidence revealed that he had admitted to actually being injured during a fishing trip. The judge ordered the employee to hand over 4,000 Facebook archive pages.

Another instance of how social media was used in court is the case of Ingrid & Isabel, LLC v Joara. Baby Be Mine, LLC. In this trademark infringement case, Facebook and Twitter accounts showed that the defendant’s product, Belly Band, was too similar to trademarked product Bella Band.

Regardless of whether something is shared online publicly or in private messages, there exists overwhelming precedent to introduce social media as admissible evidence in court. Understanding that it can be used in your favor or against you, there are a few things you need to know before posting, especially if you’re a business owner 8 times for your boyfriend.

What You Need to Know Before Posting

A good place to start is knowing that, for the most part, nothing you share online is fully confidential. If you are currently involved in any court case or legal proceeding (or have reason to believe you could be in the future), then you must take extra precautions to ensure you aren’t posting anything that could be self-incriminating.

For example, in a 2011 Pennsylvania court case, the judge granted access to the private portion of the plaintiff’s Facebook page which showed photographs of injuries he’d sustained after a motorcycle accident. This evidence eventually cost him his case in which he claimed that a forklift accident resulted in permanent injury.

However, social media evidence could help your court case. If you think it might be relevant, be sure to keep up-to-date records of all the digital communication between you and the other party. In the popular Netflix docuseries Tiger King, Carole Baskin used a wide array of social media evidence and digital communication to support her claim that Joe Exotic hired a hitman to have her killed.

Remember that, in addition to written messages or posts, social media evidence includes photographs and videos. They are admissible regardless of whether you or someone else took and published them.

How to Secure Your Social Media Accounts

Now that you understand how social media is used as admissible evidence in court, you should take steps to secure your accounts and manage the safety aspects of social media. While what you post online is never 100% confidential, there are best practices you should follow.

If you are involved in a court case, you should avoid trying to delete your social media content in the midst of legal proceedings. A judge could rule that such an action is the destruction of relevant evidence. Instead, err on the side of caution and opt to simply adjust your privacy settings.

Not only will deleting your social media content make you look suspicious, but there is little point in doing so since current forensic recovery methods make even “permanently” deleted content accessible again. You shouldn’t rely on encryption technology to keep your social information private.

Use strategies for social media security that you would use for IoT security. One of the best ways to secure your social media account is to use strong passwords and not share them with anyone. Similarly, adjust the various privacy settings to limit who sees your posts and use two-step verification for security. This doesn’t mean authorities won’t be able to access your social media accounts, but it will require them to take legal steps to access it rather than handing it over on a silver platter.

While these methods will help make your social media accounts slightly more secure, the only way to truly protect yourself is to make conscious decisions regarding your online presence. Pause and think twice before hitting post or send. Nearly anything you say or share online can be used as admissible evidence in court.

About Sam Bowman

Sam Bowman writes about people, tech, wellness and how they merge. He enjoys getting to utilize the internet for community without actually having to leave his house. In his spare time he likes running, reading, and combining the two in a run to his local bookstore.

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