Social Networking and Litigation

MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are just some of the most popular forms of social networking that have hit the Internet. With the use of iPhones, the BlackBerry and other Internet-accessible communication devices, a craze has been born allowing “everyone and their momma” to know our business. People twitter that they are sitting in traffic, post photos of their kids on Facebook and mark their locations on Foursquare at any given point of the day. Who needs “big brother” when we are spying on ourselves? People report everything, from the mundane details of sitting bored at work to photos of the bachelorette party that got a little too out of hand. What does all of this mean for litigation?

One of the first places attorneys, private investigators, clients, police and others involved in the legal field look is the social networking sites. Spouses are tracking down each other’s movements by checking phone records and e-mail accounts, and even creating fake accounts to check the other’s Facebook or MySpace page. Why do we look at these social networking sites? Because they have a ton of great information. The social networking craze has created a “Romper Room” for displaying tidbits about what we ate for dinner last night, the hangover we suffered on Thursday night or even that we called in sick to work the next day feigning the flu. People are getting caught by their employers, their spouses and their families by posting what some of us would affectionately call “TMI” on these sites. When you are involved in litigation, though, these sites provide a wealth of information about where you’ve been, what you’ve been up to and who you’ve been up to it with. Many people are getting destroyed in litigation, and they have no one to blame but themselves. When it comes to litigation, your best bet is to stay away from the social networking sites and listen to your lawyer. They aren’t trying to ruin your fun; they are trying to protect you.

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