friendsWe can’t read people’s minds, but we can read their social media posts. Social media posts can be insightful. With the prevalence of social media, people share a lot of information online making it easy to replicate a user’s profile and gauge their state of mind.
Social media posts, shares, videos, likes, messages, and photos allow you to create a complete story about a subject. You can tell much from viewing a person’s profile and content. Reading a subject’s posts makes it easy to determine a user’s behavior, emotions, activities, interests, etc.
This post will explore the power of social media content in examining subjects during litigations and digital due diligence.
Statements & Admissions
ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct allows lawyers to leverage technology, including social media, to ensure optimal legal representation of the clients. To that end, social media statements are vital in conducting due diligence or preparing a complaint.
When sourced ethically, social media statements can qualify for court admissions and can be used to show intent and motivation. Legal professionals must access the details in a permissible manner during pre-litigation investigations.
A Subject’s Emotions & Intent
In legal matters, a court can order the production of an individual’s social media account history. Current and past posts can be used to gauge their mental or emotional state. Social media posts can show the state of mind of a subject at the time of posting before or after an incident.
For example, in 2013, a driver posted “2 Drunk 2 Care” on Twitter and later was involved in a crash that killed two people. The post indicated the subject’s state of mind. Given he publicly stated that he was knowingly intoxicated, it could be stated that he lacked compassion for actions within this state of mind.
Nowadays, it’s also easy to track users’ activities when they often share on social media. Posts, videos, and simple actions like likes and retweets can give insight into an individual state of mind and interests. The kind of messages people share or send to people is also insightful.
As such, investigators can review a user’s online profile and content to determine whether they’re engaged in illegal activities, such as fraud, theft, gambling, drug trafficking, child pornography, and prostitution. For example, in 2022, a UK pedophile was jailed for ten years for 21 child sexual offenses after investigators discovered he was grooming kids on social media.
Social media investigations also include an analysis of a user’s friends list and a review of comments. This is crucial in determining connections and relationships between parties. It is possible to incriminate a used based on what their friends and other users say about them.
For example, there have been cases where gangs and terror groups use social media to grow their networks, plan crimes, and connect with members. Lawyers can target users of certain social media groups to gather evidence about their connections and affiliations.
The Power of Social Media Evidence
Social media contains a lot of information on users and their networks. It offers a platform for sharing about anything. It’s not uncommon for people to share posts or videos when aggrieved, intoxicated, or emotional.
Whatever they share, the information or content enables investigators and lawyers to gauge their state of mind. As a result, this can help uncover the motivation and intent behind some incidents or even prevent crimes before they happen.
SMI Aware has the expertise to conduct effective e-discovery while remaining compliant and ethical. Our clients trust us to obtain information to resolve their cases successfully. Contact us today, and let us demonstrate how we can do the same for your firm.