Social media is providing evidence in a variety of cases, ranging from employment, to divorce, to criminal cases, like cyber-bullying. As an attorney, I am constantly cautioning my clients about posting to social media. So many of us have gotten into the habit of sharing our entire life on social media, including everything from where we are to how we feel about something, including other people. This type of behavior can have drastic consequences in litigation. Imagine a divorce case with allegations of adultery, where the offending spouse has posted pictures of a night out with his new love. Really, who would do such a thing? But it happens. More likely, though, it’s a more innocuous posting, like checking-in at a favorite restaurant, or taking a picture of something simple that’s Geo-tagged, and creating an evidence trail that can be followed.
At the beginning of any case, I advise against posting anything to social media while the case is pending. However, there is not much that can be done about things that are already out on the internet. In a recent ruling, an attorney received a five year suspension for suggesting that his client clean up some questionable social media posts (click here for the ABA Journal article about it). The legal system is still trying to figure out how evidence like social media fits into our justice system, but it is clear that once something is out there, it’s hard to take it back.