Nearly everyone has a social media account where they post their vacation pics, pet or kid videos and memes all in real-time. Social media seems harmless from the outside to anyone who wants to post a few thoughts, comment posts, keep in touch with family or read the news. But the harsh truth is that social media could be used against someone who’s facing a criminal trial.
When used in the wrong way, social media could cause people to create self-incriminating evidence linking them to a crime. Here’s what you should know:
Using photos, posts and deleted accounts against you
Many people are under the assumption that what you put online is safe from the law, but that’s likely far from the truth. In some cases, online profiles may have enough self-incriminating evidence to lead courts to a person’s motive for a crime.
Because most people’s accounts are typically publicly viewable, there may be photos, posts or comments that directly lead police to evidence of criminal activities. Some social media sites may track user locations, linking them to a time and location of a criminal offense. Other social media tools allow users to live-stream their actions, some of which could be illegal.
Protecting your social media during a criminal trial
When social media users learn that their accounts could be used against them in a criminal trial, the first instinct is typically to delete their photos, posts or entire accounts. However, if someone is suspected of criminal activities, deleted information or accounts may only appear as an attempt to destroy or alter evidence.
What can someone, who actively uses social media, do to prevent their account from being used against them in court? You may consider the following:
- Avoid discussing details about an arrest or trial on social media.
- Avoid deleting old social media accounts or making new accounts.
- Avoid following or friending new people.
People post on social media nearly every day, as a result, it can be hard to control what or who you’re associated with online. You may need to consider your legal option when forming a defense.