Posting on social media isn’t just for connecting to people; it can also prove to be self-incriminatory evidence in court. Most users overlook that their social media accounts can turn into records of their own lives. Even though they post privately or even delete their activity on those platforms, law enforcement can access a user’s records.
Thinking of writing something on Twitter (News - Alert) or Facebook? Or you might want to add a photograph of yourself on Snap Chat or Instagram. Do it, but in an appropriate manner, to avoid getting harassed or abused in the future.
A lot of people incriminate themselves on their social media accounts and end up facing fines or prison time. There have been many instances of people being arrested after they posted pictures or videos in which some of them possessed unregistered or concealed weapons. There have also been cases of drunk driving, animal cruelty and even a murder charge, all of them either being found on SnapChat, Instagram, or Facebook (News - Alert).
How to Protect Yourself from Social Media Evidence
In order to protect yourself on social media, you must understand that your online activity on these platforms and on other websites can be tracked. Everything you post on social media remains recorded, no matter how many privacy settings you’ve turned on. They can all be accessed by law enforcement when they need evidence against you.
Your IP address, dates, locations, times and other information will be provided and used against you in the court if you become a suspect. Everything you browse on the Internet can be checked by the government, too.
Finding a way to not incriminate yourself in the online environment should start with you accepting that there is no online privacy when it comes to law enforcement.
The court can use all the data gathered from your social media accounts and build a case around your self-incriminatory evidence.
According to Dr. Nick Oberheiden, if you’re involved in a theft operation and you provide an alibi, claiming that you were at home with a family member when the crime took place, the police can find a Facebook post at that exact time to show otherwise. By checking out the coordinates from where the post was made, they can discover if your alibi checks out or not. If you were at the place of the crime, when the theft occurred, your alibi will be nullified, and the evidence will be used against you in court.
What can you do when you’re facing criminal charges?
When you’re facing criminal charges, you should tell your lawyer about your social media activity and anything that might influence your case. The criminal defense lawyers must know all the information that can help them build a strong defense.
It is very important that you are aware of your internet activity not being private. It can all be used against you, so tread carefully on social media and think twice before you say something that might incriminate you.
About the author: I began writing as a professional on my personal blog and then discovered my true calling, which is writing about technology and gadgets in general. I am a technical writer, author and blogger since 2005. An industry watcher that stays on top of the latest features, extremely passionate about juicy tech news and everything related to gadgets. For tech tips, my email address is neneacostea at gmail.
Edited by Erik Linask