Social media is a huge part of our lives and our businesses, from marketing to connecting and supporting customers. Few people think about the consequences of communicating on social media, even when they’re involved in litigation, until it’s too late. While larger organizations have social media policies for employee communications as complex marketing and messaging plans, small and medium-size businesses often still use social media, but without the same controls.
Is Social Media Evidence?
Depending on the case and what’s in contention, social media can absolutely be evidence. It can be used to show your opinion on an issue, how your company is handling certain issues, and more. The targeting you use for your Facebook employment ads, for example, can be evidence of discriminatory hiring practices.
Lawyers, courts, and juries are getting savvier in understanding and using social media to prove or disprove certain issues. Even if you think the information you’re sharing on social media is private, you may find yourself facing a court order to hand over login information to access your full social media and social history. Never assume anything online is fully confidential.
If you’re involved in a lawsuit where social media might be used as evidence, you have a duty to preserve the information. The rules of evidence apply to social media just as they would to other business records such as files, records, and emails. Also, even deleted information can possibly be recovered using subpoenas to social media companies and forensic recovery methods.
Handling Business Social Media
Businesses who use social media to market and communicate with customers should have clear policies on who has access to the platform, how information is created and saved, and what is said on business accounts. Having policies in place means that, even if the employee handling social media makes a mistake and posts something inappropriate, you can demonstrate that their post was not in line with your business communications policy.
It helps to talk to the team from Dunn Law Firm about how best to comply with the rules of evidence if you’re anticipating a trial or in the middle of litigation. They can help you set up a data retention policy as well as guidelines on company communications both in general and in regard to the information at issue. To learn more about our law firm and the type of business representation we handle, reach out to the Dunn Law Firm by calling (435) 628-5405 and set up a free consultation today.