Social media is as popular as ever, with platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter constantly gaining more users. People enjoy connecting with old friends, sharing important life moments, and staying updated on current events. The rising popularity of social media has led to it being used for purposes beyond its original intentions. This includes being used as evidence in a court of law.
Because so much information on social media is public, it is easy for authorities to obtain data that help prove guilt or innocence. When people upload pictures on Facebook or Instagram, timestamps can help determine where they were when it was uploaded. This can either confirm the validity of an alibi or further incriminate somebody.
In many ways, social media can seriously hurt any case that you may currently be involved with. It is important to exercise extreme caution on social media, especially if you have an active ongoing case. In many cases, it is advisable to shut down all social media accounts altogether.
So, how exactly can your social media posts negatively affect your case? See below for more information and examples.
Personal Injury Claims and Social Media Evidence
Whether you are a plaintiff in a case against another person or trying to gain financial support for your injury through insurance, social media can be a thorn in your side. Insurance companies or defendants may admit photos or videos of you engaging in physical activities that would be impossible with your claimed injury. Updating your status with information about your claim may also make it seem as though you are simply out to make money. You may have a private profile, but it is still possible for defendants and lawyers to circumvent that in order to find evidence that is contrary to your testimony.
Posting Information About the Defendant
If you are engaged in a civil or criminal case against something, you will want to avoid saying anything about them on social media. People may construe negative comments as a personal bias that you have against the defendant. This makes your claim appear less credible and gives the defense something to hold against you. On top of that, it is simply unprofessional to divulge information about an ongoing trial and could actually result in a countersuit.
Tarnishing Your Reputation
This is one of the biggest issues that face social media users in their court battles. Whether you are the plaintiff or defendant, the opposing side will try to find whatever they can to delegitimize your character. If you posted something inflammatory years ago, you can bet that they will try to hold it against you and steer the judge and jury to believe that you are not a trustworthy person, no matter what the context may have been. Of course, the posts have to be relevant to the case to be admitted, but some judges may find that matters of character are perfectly acceptable.
Social media can be an excellent tool for interacting with friends and family, but it should be used wisely. The smallest things on social media can turn into disasters for your court case.