Social Networking: Did you Say it or Show It? Then You Have to Defend It!
Social media provides everyone with a digital treasure trove of information. Always remember what you post online can and often will be used against you.
Approximately 302.35 million or 90% of all adult internet users in the United States actively use Social Networking sites daily. A new 2023 Hootsuite survey shows an average American user spends 2 hrs. and 31minutes daily on social networking. This usage amount is the Highest Record ever recorded! Social networking is considered the most popular online activity. When posting on Facebook, TikTok, or other social networking sites, just remember the updates you post can cause serious problems when searching for a job, starting a new relationship, or during involvement in a legal issue or lawsuit!
People are now sharing everything online. Can this get you in trouble? YOU BET!! Social networking technologies have forced people to learn how to navigate the murky waters between business and pleasure. Such a mixture creates a “Permanent Record” on social /90% private issues and sharing it with their “multi” friends online and “Advertising their Product” for all to see. Social networking sites can provide anyone who is confused, angry or distraught with a perfect venue for airing their gripes and disclosing their feelings in public!
Evidence from all social media sites is now used by prosecutors, defense attorneys, personal injury attorneys, employment attorneys, securities litigators, and particularly family law attorneys. An American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey found that 81% of divorce attorneys have increased their use of social media to find evidence against the opposing side. The main source of information is Facebook, with attorneys citing it as the source for incrimination information.
A Wide Variety of Evidence?
1. Incriminating photos
2. Incriminating statements and wall posts
3. Status Updates
4. Mood Indicators
5. List of Friends
6. Login/Log off records for example: not able to work, alcohol/drug use, intimate issues).
How to Preserve Evidence from Social Media Sites?
1. Capture a full content screen shot with full key metadata information of web site to prove authenticity!
2. Print any pertinent information ASAP since it may be deleted by user
3. Well-tailored discovery requests to the person.
4. Motion compelling the user to execute a consent form permitting the discovery
seeking party to obtain the profile contents.
5. Check all Social Media platforms for pertinent information. Be sure not to miss some nugget of information that could help win your case!
How to Authenticate Evidence from social media?
2. Admission from author/poster.
3. Testimony from person who copied information.
4. Capture a full content screen shot with full key metadata information of web site to prove authenticity
Think about these Situations before using social media to sound off:
1. If you share a computer with a spouse or business partner and there is a potential break up; create a new web-based email address with a new password to ensure no other unauthorized access.
2. Don’t forget the children! Always more tech-savvy than mom and dad, monitor children to ensure information related to divorce proceedings or family problems do not become part of the internet!
3. Never make online references to finances. No big trips, bonuses or raises at work. This could affect your case adversely.
4. Always be careful with third- party conversations. The internet has many eyes and not just your friends.
The advance and reach of social media force our legal system to adapt quickly. Legal professionals now have very good new sources for evidence and discovery.
Just consider the implications of this technology before you vent out online. It could and will be used against you in a Court of Law!
Nacol Law Firm P.C.
Dallas Texas Civil Litigation Attorneys
Call (972) 690-3333