Social Networking and Lawsuits

October 21st, 2013

Every day the impact of social networking is growing and affecting the everyday American in all aspects of their lives. The Pew Research Center, http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/social-networking-sites.aspx , has just come out with a new study, in which a record 72% of online adults are social networking users! Young adults are the predominate users, but since 2009, the 65+ users have jumped from 31% to 43%!

Another new study by Pew Research, http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/social-networking-sites.aspx , finds that most internet users would rather be anonymous online, but cannot! 86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints and 55% of internet users have tried to avoid observation by specific organizations, people and the government! Also a sustainable amount of internet users say they have experienced stolen personal information or others have been taken advantage of from their online visibility.

Some very interesting statistics from Pew Research on “Anonymity, Privacy and Security Online”:

  • 21% of internet users have had an email or social networking site efforts compromised by someone without permission.
  • 12% have been stalked or harassed online
  • 11% have had important personal information stolen, social security, credit card numbers, or bank account information.
  • 6% have been victims of online scams or lost money
  • 6% have had their reputation damaged because of online information
  • 4% have been led into physical danger from online occurrences

What about a potential lawsuit? Are you worried about how your or the opposing party’s social networking could affect the results of a case? You should be very prudent and attentive! The best advice would be to remove yourself from all social networks or take down sites temporary until the completion of the legal case! Do Not Delete! Since that is impractical in many cases here are possible suggestions to consider in your social networking when involved in litigation:

  1. Anything you do or say online could and probably will be used against you!
  2. Make sure that your lawyer knows about your social networking habits and if there are any past conversations or photos that could be used against you.
  3. Have you ever shared a computer with your soon to be ex-spouse or potential ex-partner? Make sure you check the hard drive for relevant information concerning your lawsuit or proof that spyware wasn’t installed on the computer. Also change your email address and password for privacy.
  4. What about your children and their posting on social networking site. Your children are probably a lot smarter than you on texting, emailing or posting online and make sure you check what is being said online and on their cell phones!
  5. Check for posting from co-workers, friends, relatives and enemies as to what they are saying on your site about you or your situation to the world. You may be able to pick up some good information, or learn who is a friend and who you can trust!
  6. Never discuss financial situations or problems online. Got a new car? Taking a trip? The world doesn’t need to know!
  7. Photos or Videos should be a No! No! Until after your lawsuit is over! Delete nothing to avoid penalties assessed by the court!

Think smart, be smart! Social Networking and a Lawsuit is a very combustible situation that usually turns out to your disadvantage. Just say no!

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