Social media has changed the world. Over the last 10 years alone, we have seen the rise and fall of social networks that have connected people across the world. Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+, YouTube and so many more have undeniably altered the way human beings connect with each other. Whether these social media channels have changed human interaction for the better or worse is up for debate, but we must all come to terms with this brave new online world.
With common sites like Facebook ruling many peoples’ downtime, we can make the logical assertion that social media affects law as well. Anything so intrinsically linked with everyday life will inevitably affect litigation and the way we fight cases.
3 Key Ways That Social Media Affects Law
- Attorney-Client Privilege: Most social media platforms allow for personal, “private” messages to be sent directly to individuals. Unfortunately, sending messages in this manner is far from secure and should never be supported by attorneys. Even email is not seen as totally secure, as hackers frequently target both websites and email accounts looking for such confidential information. Some choose to place a disclaimer at the bottom of their emails indicating their intent for confidentiality, but this is not always an effective defense in the case that your information is leaked.
- Employers: Imagine if you are fighting for disability, yet are denied because a friend tagged you in recently posted (but old) photograph, looking happy and healthy. Photos, videos and other information shared publicly on social media platforms can all be used against you and your disability claims. Note that employees often lose the right to privacy when using company-owned computers, cell phones, email addresses and more. Social media communication and posts can be used as evidence in unlawful discrimination cases as well.
- Personal Injury: Much in the same way that disability claims can be put under scrutiny, if you are attempting to claim life-altering injury or pain and suffering, your social media can come under scrutiny. Another way that social media affects law is the fact that many, believe it or not, incriminate themselves by doing illegal drugs or driving under the influence while documenting the experience on social media channels–all of which can possibly be used against the person documented.
Though it can be difficult to keep up with the latest social media platforms, there is no denying that social media affects law and is, thus, vital to your case. Always remember that whatever you post online can have very real repercussions. Be smart about your social media use and always discuss your case with an experienced attorney before potentially ruining your chances of a successful outcome in your case.