We came across the infographic below this week, and thought it was interesting in part because we hadn’t seen a similar analysis laid out before. It addresses whether social media posts – even private messages – are admissible in court.
The things teens post online sometimes go bad in a big way – cyberbullying, school threats, child porn or revenge porn – even if the original post/content was a joke or shared between to consenting parties.
We aren’t fans of using scare tactics with our kids, but believe that we need to clearly explain the risks when we are talking to our kids about posting appropriately on social media. One of the risks in a worst-case scenario is that the police and the court system become involved, and then communications that were assumed to be private could become public in the courts.
If you’re under suspicion of a crime or are arrested and questioned, what you say may be used against you, but you have the right to remain silent after you’re arrested. What about information or ideas you’ve posted on social media? What does the law say about using that against you or in court cases? The short answer is—it depends.
From one court to another, from one case to another, social media information is treated very differently. Time will determine how that changes—how what law enforcement discovers in social media can be used in cases. Broad requests may not be approved, but specific copies of information may be required.
The folks at Vound Software looked into how court cases in New York State have played out. To understand the changing nature of the law and social media, use the details in this graphic below for help.
The bottom line is that even a post from a private social media account or a private message on Facebook could end up in court. All social media users, teens included, should act accordingly.
The Irony of Privacy Settings: Can Lawyers Use Social Media Posts in a Court of Law?
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