Social Media are quickly becoming an integral part of our lives. The prevalence and impact of social media simply cannot be ignored in today’s world. With the advent of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, LinkedIn, Flikr and YouTube come vast database of information about the everyday lives of individuals.
Facebook users share a billion pieces of content each day which includes status updates, wall posts, photographs, videos, blogs, information about events, political causes and affiliations, “likes” and even location “check-ins”. User profiles contain contact information, relationship status, employment history, education and interests. Facebook and social media users post information concerning their daily activities and thoughts- often without considering the consequences of sharing such information.
Not only do individuals use social media, so do corporations. Businesses regularly market with social media and many corporations also actively monitor social media communications. The information generated on social media networks may later become relevant evidence in criminal or civil proceedings. Social media are an important source of discovery during litigation. Because the social media phenomenon is a relatively new one, it is unclear how courts will treat issues involving discovery of social media information.
Social media networks provide users with privacy settings which permit them to control who may access their social media information. As a client, former client or friend of Scott Mullins & Company, I must urge you to restrict access to social media information and to be mindful of the information you post on social media. Social media information that is open to the public may be accessed by the opposition and be used against you during litigation. Moreover, failure to restrict access to social media communications may be viewed as a public dissemination undeserving of protection from the discovery process. Just because social media information is discoverable does not mean it will be admissible evidence at trial. Just be mindful of that next facebook post or that next tweet because it may someday be used against you in Court.