Staying off social media is best when fighting a lawsuit. You can do things to minimize your social media presence if you can’t stay away, though. Reducing and privatizing your posts and deactivating your GPS location helps. While in a lawsuit, remember that opposing counsel can get a subpoena to collect social media information from the companies.
1. Don’t Post About the Case
Anything you post online is open to the public’s view. Never post about an ongoing case online because all comments and posts will hurt you during the trial. Even jokes or entertaining writing are admissible under the law. If you have to post anything, don’t post stuff that may connect to the lawsuit.
2. Update Your Privacy Settings
People use social media to talk to friends and family and can’t always stop using the websites. Updating your privacy to the highest security level on your profiles is a way to protect yourself. Ask your family and friends to do the same. You don’t need the uncertainty of public photo tags.
3. Talk to Your Friends and Family
Make sure you talk to your friends and family about posts during your lawsuit. A lawyer could use a comment about you or a photo you’re tagged in to build up their case. Even if you’re staying off social media, the other side may form an opinion of you with posts by your family and friends.
4. Lawyers Can Explore Your Social Media Profiles
Lawyers can explore any publicly open social media profiles, but can’t search private or locked profiles. Lawyers can’t add you on social media to see private information. You don’t have privacy online, so protect your social media profiles.
5. Don’t Vent about Anyone in the Case
Emotions can run high during a lawsuit but never badmouth people with a connection to the case. The lawyers may see any insults you post about the other side of the lawsuit and use them against you. Anything you write online could damage your credibility and character during the trial. Worse than insulting the other side is insulting the presiding judge. If the judge finds out about the comments, they won’t respect you during the trial.
6. Photos Can Ruin Your Case
Photographs are worth 1,000 words and can harm the lawsuit with terrible timing or context. Always be mindful of what you or anyone you know posts online during a lawsuit. Pictures can ruin your credibility or entire case because context is often missing. An example is suing an employer for loss of wages but having photos of getting high on the clock.
7. Don’t Intentionally Hide Information
You can’t erase anything already posted online due to the ethics of hiding information. During a lawsuit, you can take things down, but the opposing lawyers can still gain access to deleted material with a subpoena. Deleted items are rarely gone forever online.
Social media is where many people talk and exchange ideas. The public posts may cause an issue during an active lawsuit. An example is filing a lawsuit for an injury but not being as hurt. Your lawyer needs to back your plea with evidence, and posts on social media hurt your credibility and make their job harder.
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