Two words can summarize the way lawyers feel about social media and eDiscovery: panic and anxiety. Michael Legg, associate professor at the University of New South Wales, sees it differently. In his recent opinion piece, “Facebook: a cunning litigator’s best friend,” he argues Facebook may be a litigators best friend. Previous to the copious amounts of sharing via social networks, gathering personal material relied largely on private detectives posting up for hours waiting for incriminating information to unfold before their eyes. Now, you can check someone’s Facebook profile with probable cause and uncover personal communication. As the article states, “Legal precedents in the courts here and overseas … turning social media websites into potential treasure troves of evidence.” With all of this potential evidence floating around, Facebook truly can be a litigators best friend.
The next question becomes, wouldn’t a person just delete damaging information if they knew they were facing litigation? Well, just like shredding paper documents, this may result in contempt of court if the material is relevant to the litigation. The article points out another interesting, yet troubling fact; Facebook and other social media sites can even be forced to provide evidence of the material being destroyed.
As a litigator, take the offensive and leverage social media to your advantage. There is an overflow of information just waiting for you to get your hands on and leave the other guy with their tail between their legs.
Another great article to take a look at: “You Just Got Served…via Facebook”