Social Media Posts and Photos Can Be Used Against You in Court
Social media, the blessing, and curse of the modern world. YouTube, Facebook, Tumbler, Twitter, Snapchat, Instant Messenger, Linkedin, Instagram, and Pinterest are examples of social media options. It is amazing to be able to talk with and see people around the world. You can take videos of activities, people, and just about anything the mind can think up. Information is non-ending, and music and art abound. Authors Marisa A. Tradatti and Anna C. Horevay write, “There is a whole generation of people for whom tweeting is as natural as breathing, for whom the word ‘friend’ has become a verb and for whom Web2.0 is the only media platform they know.” In 2017 Facebook had over 1 billion uses (there are undoubtedly more now in 2020), one-seventh of the world’s population. There is so much one can accomplish with social media; it is hard to believe there are negatives as well as positives. Unfortunately, in the area of law, if a person isn’t careful social media can become an enemy rather than a friend.
Legally, social media has come into play in a significant way in the last few years. As of January 5, 2015, in a landmark case in the state of Florida, Judge Gross ordered a woman to submit to the court personal pictures she had put on Facebook to be used as evidence against her in a lawsuit, Thus began the use of posts and pictures on social media to be used in court as evidence. While it would seem the use of social media would be a private matter, it is not legally deemed so. Social media supporters such as Facebook and Twitter cannot release social media postings. However, whatever an individual posts is considered “given to whoever reads it.” This could include postings “hacked” by the opposing party. Judge Gross writes, “Because information that an individual shares through social networking websites like Facebook may be copied and disseminated by another, the expectation that such information is private, in the traditional sense of the word, is not a reasonable one.”
Looking at the truth that pictures and posts on social media can be used against you in court, it becomes vitally necessary for you to guard all your online communications of any type, e-mails and messaging included, while your case is in progress. Major jurisdictional orders such as parental time-sharing, alimony, and equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities can be significantly influenced by what a judge hears or sees from social media. Evidence is evidence, and no amount of testimony trying to refute it will change the facts.
If you are considering needing a Family Law attorney to help with an issue, and you live in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, or Hillsborough County in Florida or in New York or Washington DC, Attorney Grant Gisondo can help. He offers a free, initial, in-office consultation where you can ask questions on general information related to your needs, such as how a divorce is handled or how child support is figured. Attorney Gisondo will also discuss his fee schedule, and you will have a chance to get acquainted. His office hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM and, for new clients, Saturdays from 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM. Please call Attorney Gisondo’s office at (561) 530-4568 to make an appointment.