Social media is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s digitally-driven society. While networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great for connecting with friends and family, they are also creating new problems that the world has never had to deal with before. Everyone has been told to “watch what they post online,” as a quick internet/social media search is becoming standard in most employers’ hiring processes. But not only are employers using social media to obtain information, the law is too. Know that everything you say, and now post, can and will be used against you in a court of law.
Social media content is not just used as evidence in criminal cases—it can be brought up in civil cases as well. The issue with social media in respect to the law is that words, pictures, videos, and other content can be easily taken out of context or misconstrued. For example, a person who files a wrongful death suit and is claiming financial loss must prove that they are in some way disabled due to their personal loss of a loved one. If a picture of that person engaging in activity not representative of grieving or loss (on a vacation, at a party, etc.) is discovered on Facebook after the fact, it can seriously compromise the validity of their claim. Though that person knows the photo has nothing to do with their case or their loss, the court may not see it that way.
Insurance companies, as well as private parties, can and will search your social media pages for any type of content that may hinder your claim. You may be thinking, “I use private settings for all of my social media pages, so I’m covered.” Privacy settings are not absolute. Laws are changing surrounding social media and in some cases, even private content can be retrieved for legal purposes. If not through the court, all of your Facebook and Twitter friends have access to your page, and there’s no telling what information may get passed along to others through them. Furthermore, social media sites privatize content in a million different ways. Many people think all of their posts are private, when in fact, some information is visible to everyone.
So what can you do to prevent social media from becoming a problem during your case? The best thing to do is to avoid it as much as possible after a tragedy or any other time you may be involved in a lawsuit. Unfortunately, digital communication can never be as clear-cut as in-person communication, and things can be easily twisted to your disadvantage. If you have questions or concerns about your social media usage during a lawsuit, consult with your lawyer.
For attorney services in wrongful death, personal injury, worker’s compensation, and more, contact the experienced lawyers of Friedman Law here.