As more and more people are living their lives online, the law is being called upon to offer moral guidance as to where the lines are drawn. Is a seemingly innocent Facebook rant enough to get you sued for defamation? Are photos from a weekend party evidence against your abilities to be a fit parent? In many cases the answer is yes. What social media lacks in context it makes up for in irreversible proof. Even if you aren’t currently in the middle of a court case, it is smart to learn how to safeguard yourself from being your own worst witness should you find yourself in legal trouble. Always keep in mind that these days, law enforcement use of social media is not uncommon, nor is it rare that attorneys use social media to gather evidence in favor of a client or to the detriment of the opposition. This day and age, social media evidence is a thing, so it pays to remember not to incriminate yourself.
1. The internet is forever.
While privacy on social media is a consistently hot topic, too many people just don’t take the time to think about the possible consequences of putting too much or overly sensitive personal information on the internet. Once it’s out there on the internet, it’s out there for good. Avoid posting pictures that may be perceived as indecent, don’t make inflammatory comments even in jest, and don’t put ANY personal information on sites where it could be sold to other companies.
2. Privacy matters.
We know that Facebook isn’t going anywhere. Be sure that you only allow access to people you trust. This could help you avoid being on the prosecution side of your own lawsuit one day.
3. Can’t say something nice?
If you wouldn’t say it in public to a person’s face, don’t say it on the internet. Period.
4. Check yourself.
Make sure you look at what you post, how often you post, and whether or not your comments could be construed by someone else as dangerous. When it doubt, leave it out.
5. Keep it secret.
This is just common sense. Identity thieves are everywhere; avoid be a victim by making sure that your passwords are secure. Changing them every few months can help keep you safe online.
The internet is a lot of fun, and social media has a lot of wonderful uses. But as more and more attorneys subpoena for social media evidence, your best bet is to keep your activity to a minimum, and to avoid writing or posting anything that could be perceived in a negative light. A single statement could be used against you.