Social media is a double edged sword. On one hand, it allows us to communicate regularly with friends and family, sharing our daily thoughts and experiences. On the other hand, a point in time can come when we wish certain other people did not have access to our information. Yes, there are controls in social media platforms that let us restrict access, but those are not always used effectively. Even with relatively strict privacy settings, having just one unintentional friend can cause your information to be shared beyond your desired circle.
If you are involved in a lawsuit, for example, social media postings could come back to haunt you. Investigators and lawyers routinely search social media for information about persons who have filed a claim or lawsuit. Information in social media users’ public domains is fair game for use by investigators who, for example, are attempting to determine fault in an automobile accident. If you have sued another person, or been sued, the opposing counsel may look at your publicly posted information to find information relevant to the case. The lawyer could ask you questions under oath about the information you have posted.
As an example, if you filed suit over a personal injury suffered on another person’s property, it would be your job to prove that you actually suffered an injury. Medical evidence would be the most compelling proof, but if you had posted on your Facebook account that you were out hiking soon after the alleged injury, your medical evidence has just been called into question.
It is important, therefore, to make sure your social media account settings are designed to keep private information just that—private. It is also important to be cautious about granting a person access that goes beyond your public information. During litigation, a lawyer or investigator may try to “friend” you to get at your information. The smartest play for people who are involved in litigation is to avoid social media until it is resolved. If that is just not feasible, at the very least, litigants should not post information related to the suit.
The courts have generally held that information gained from social media may be used in court if it was found in the public domain of a user. Information obtained by hacking accounts or tricking users into allowing access is usually not allowed.
If you are looking for an experienced lawyer who can navigate the perilous field of social media, call Alexander Law Group, LLP at 888.777.1776 or contact us online. Our attorneys are dedicated to using any tools at our disposal to effectively represent our clients.