facebook and social media as legal evidence - Ben Powers, Nashville attorney at law.jpg

Every day we see countless updates online including pictures, witty captions, and hashtags that document peoples’ entire lives. But is posting your every move and thought on social media really the best idea?

Can social media really be used as evidence in a court case?

REMEMBER: What you post online can be used against you later in either a criminal case or a civil lawsuit. “Private” social media pages are never really private. Therefore, it is important to be wary of what you post, caption, comment, and hashtag in order to protect yourself in a situation that may arise later. What you say on social media is considered public and it absolutely can be presented as evidence in court.

In 2015, it was found that almost 96% of a sample of over 500 police departments used and monitored social media in some form. Law enforcement uses these platforms to send important information to the public, but they mostly use them to keep track of what people are doing. Social media was used by 76% of these departments for soliciting tips on crime. Hashtags are even being monitored now to keep track of people talking about social and political movements.

Police departments can gain information through social media by

  • Searching a user’s publicly available accounts and posts,
  • Setting up undercover accounts to request private accounts and posts,
  • Using software to track people, groups, or hashtags,
  • Using a search warrant to go through social media pages, including private messages between multiple parties.

Some police departments look to posts and comments on social media to find evidence of criminal activity. Even liking certain posts has resulted in people doing jail time for conspiracy charges. These are all things to keep in mind the next time you want to tag your location on Facebook, post a picture on Instagram, or like that tweet.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, or are under criminal investigation, and want a strong criminal defense attorney in Franklin, Nashville, or Middle Tennessee then contact us today to discuss your case and learn more about our strong legal representation!

The information in this website is not legal advice. Visiting our website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. The information provided above is intended to be used for informational purposes only and we hope it may assist in understanding the evaluation of your case when speaking with a Tennessee attorney.