Social media can be a helpful resource for staying in touch with family members across country or finding new recipes. But, let’s be honest — some of us also use it to snoop on our exes or read the comments section of a political rant.
If you happen to be in the midst of a legal case, you should be especially careful of what you post and how you communicate with others, whether on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat or elsewhere. Anything you put on social media may be used against you in a court of law, even something that may seem innocent to you. So it’s best to proceed with extreme caution.
Below are seven pitfalls clients (and their lawyers) should avoid.
1. Just because you changed your privacy settings, doesn’t mean your post is “private.”
So you think you’ve changed your privacy settings that only your friends can see your posts. That might be so, until your friends comment, Like or share your post. Then it’s likely their friends can see their activity and therefore, your post.
You can see how quickly the sharing of posts becomes exponential. Social media’s purpose is to spread a message quickly, and it can be very effective. Unfortunately, it can also be very effective at sometimes spreading the wrong message.
So before you post, really think about what you want the world to know. (See Rule #2.)
2. If you wouldn’t say it in public, don’t say it on social media.
Think of a town hall meeting. If you wouldn’t stand on a soapbox in the midst of all your friends and relatives to shout an announcement, don’t post it on social media. Just because you might not “see” your friends or followers on a regular basis, does not mean that they are not tracking what you say and what you do on social media.
3. Your social media activity isn’t limited to what you post.
Even if you think you’re playing it cool on social media (maybe you haven’t even checked your accounts for months), it’s possible that someone else has been posting on your profile or tagging you in posts or pictures.
On Facebook, this is called Timeline Tagging, and you can ensure that you “review” these tags before they are automatically associated with your account. You can also “untag” yourself at any time from a photo or post.
4. “Unfriending” doesn’t mean un-stalking.
Just because you “unfriend” or “unfollow” someone does not mean he cannot see your posts. While your posts may no longer show up in his feed, he may still seek your profile and find your posts there (depending on your privacy settings and how many mutual friends are privy to or interact with the content you share).
5. Posts are forever.
Even if you delete a post, it’s possible that someone took a snapshot of it before you deleted.
So again, think — really think — about what you are about to post, who may see it and if it could impact your case.
6. Always communicate about your case via email or phone.
If you’ve gotten to know your lawyer / client well and you’d like to know more about his personal life, it might be tempting to “friend” him and post on his wall or direct message him.
However, posts on his wall may be public, and even private messages may end up in the wrong hands (see Rule #7).
Emails, phone calls and text messages are the best way to communicate about a case. KBG works hard to ensure all emails and records are kept confidential and secure.
7. Always log out of your accounts.
You never know who may use your computer after you or who may pick up your phone. Always make sure you log out of social media accounts when you are finished.
Similarly, do not share your passwords with anyone. If someone may know one of your passwords, be sure to change it immediately.
Not only could they see private messages meant to be sent directly to you, but they may also pose as you and post directly from your account.
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, contact a KBG attorney to review your options. We’re here to get you the Results You Deserve®.
The personal injury attorneys at KBG Injury Law are all experienced litigators. Almost all of them represented insurance companies prior to becoming advocates for injured people, which provides them with a unique perspective and insight into how these companies operate. They also offer extensive courtroom experience if going to trial is the best legal alternative for the client.