Social media has changed courts of law and the rules about what is and is not considered substantial. Relevant evidence has changed dramatically with the growth of internet prgrammes such as Facebook and Twitter.
Today social media evidence is admissible in a court of law and social network accounts are very important considerations where lawyers and private investigators look for evidence when building cases.
Lawyers specifically use evidence from social sites to build up prepared statements about a person’s state of mind as well as proving evidence of communication, place and time, or actions.
For example, someone might publish on his or her Facebook status: “I have got to do it. There is no turning back, I’m sorry”. If this was published by an accused person twenty minutes before the alleged crime was committed it could certainly pack a punch with a jury.
Remember also it is not just about the words used but also these sites can often offer some incriminating location details. A post could put someone near the scene of the crime at a given time. Additionally, social media evidence can add up over time and show the growth of relationships and extra martial affairs that could be used as evidence in divorce proceedings.
It’s important to be aware of the role that social sites can play in legal proceedings today so that you can protect yourself from self-incrimination through evidence gathered in social media contexts.
Did you know?
· 66% of online divorce evidence comes from Facebook,
· 14% comes from MySpace,
· 5% comes from Twitter,
· 15% comes from other sources.
Additionally, lawyers and private investigators can collect information from Instagram, SnapChat, LinkedIn, blogs, dating websites, and any other sites that you frequent online. Depending on the type of case presented against you they will utilize different kinds of sites to build a case with social media an important part of the evidence.
Problems with Social Media
There are some problems that have arisen when dealing with social media evidence. First of all the courts in the west have acknowledged that there are many ways to doctor or edit photos to be incriminating and anyone has the ability to create a fake account. The process of properly verifying the source of the information, especially written information, can be very difficult and acquiring proof can take time that the court might not have. Additionally, lawyers have to be careful about how they acquire the evidence and cannot coax information from victims or others by acting as a counterfeit friend online. Evidence can be immediately dismissed if the methods for acquiring the information are inappropriate.