By Jedidiah McKeehan
Let’s be honest, we all love to talk about ourselves and draw attention to ourselves. There is no subject on which we are more of an expert. With the invention of the internet, we are always just a few clicks away from being able to access a platform where we can immediately proclaim to the world our opinions on religion, politics, sports, and any other subject we wish to discuss. “Hey everyone! Here is what I have to say on a specific subject!”
It is both comical and sad how often social media use, and what is posted on it, can be at the crux of cases.
Order of protection cases might solely stem from threatening posts and messages made on Facebook. Divorce cases might turn on disparaging tweets made about the parenting abilities of the other parent. Personal injury cases might be immediately lost when the “injured” party posts pictures on Instagram of their recent water-skiing outing.
When people come to see me and I am discussing their case, I almost always tell them, “Assume everything you text or post is being screenshotted by the other side.” Depending on the type of case, I may tell them to deactivate all their social media accounts immediately.
In divorce cases, as part of the case, the other side is entitled to request that you print out and provide to them your ENTIRE social media history. Yikes, that sounds bad.
I can promise you that the attorney on the other side of your case, whether it is a criminal case, divorce case, order of protection case, or personal injury case, is looking up your Facebook page to see what kind of things you are posting. I know this to be true, because it’s what I do. It’s shocking how many people leave their profiles public, out there for the whole world to access just by typing in your name.
If you find yourself involved in any kind of case at all, I would encourage you to, at a bare minimum, make your accounts private so that only your friends can see what you post. Better yet, and as much as this may cause you actual distraught, I would encourage you to deactivate your social media accounts until your case is over.
Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties. He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.