Can social media be used as evidence?

The short answer to this question is yes, but it is a qualified answer. Most posts on social media are used as supporting evidence of intention for the most part unless the issue is one of defamation. New Jersey residents can quickly libel or defame an individual with social posts because they are considered publications by the author, not the platform, especially when the target is not a public figure. While online portals are generally not liable, this is not true for those making public statements. In addition, posts of intention to commit a crime can be supporting evidence when the crime is actually committed. And, many times a threat can be prosecuted without action.

Civil liability

Aside from defamation claims, those who are injured and make posts on social media showing they may not be as injured as claimed can have their public posts used against them in court. Photos and videos can even be applied in criminal law cases. And even when individual page settings are not public, the information can still be used.

Criminal charges

Many criminal charges require prosecutors to accumulate as much evidence as possible. Even a negative or suggestive post on social media can be used in building a case of intent to commit a crime. Intent is an important element when criminal charges are being evaluated, and especially when a truly serious criminal law matter is being prosecuted.

Everyone should always remember that any post on social media is a publication for all intents and purposes, and even one person viewing a post makes it public. Even with privacy settings in full force, social media posts can leak out. Anyone in New Jersey who is dealing with a legal matter regardless of the situation should be very conscious of what a post can do even when it is positively perceived.

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