Florida courts have recently ruled that opposing parties in lawsuits may be entitled to your “password” in order to enter into, and view your social media accounts. This includes Facebook and may include other social media such as Twitter, Instagram, Myspace , and LinkedIn. No matter what your privacy settings may be, the Court has ruled that you are not protected by your right to privacy when you are using social media.
The rationale is when you are claiming injuries and limitations in your life, opposing parties can investigate your activities through your social media. They are allowed to confirm, or dispute, your position through your posting of pictures, videos or status updates. In addition they can look into the “tagging” of your friends posts which involve your activities. This ruling is not limited to personal injury or worker’s compensation claims. In can also be used in domestic cases where parental rights are at issue such as the fitness of one parent as opposed to another. Obviously posts of alcoholic consumption, drug use or inappropriate behavior may be used by the court in determining certain issues.
Yesterdays headlines concerning indictments of alleged firefighters and police officers involved in 9/11 claims highlights this situation. The claimants alleged psychological trauma from 9/11 which prevented them from conducting normal day to day activities. However authorities received the right to review the claimants social media accounts which uncovered activities which were greatly in conflict with the limitations they had previously testified to in court records.
In addition, recently, more and more employers and schools have been looking at social media to determine ones fitness as an employee or potential student. Please realize your posts or comments may circulate in cyber space for long periods of time and may effect your future in a variety of areas. The point is, your social media activity is not constitutionally protected and therefore please govern your actions accordingly.