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Dysart Willis

How your social media activity can be used as evidence

Many North Carolina college students need to think twice before posting photos and stats about their reckless behavior on social media. As exciting as it is to get likes and everyone’s attention, not everything you do ought to be shared online. Do not fall prey to the false sense of security that social media and its privacy settings provide. 

Here is a brief overview of how your social media activity can be used against you in court. 

Privacy settings do not stop law enforcement from getting access 

Many people believe they can keep unwanted parties and law enforcement from accessing their social media accounts by changing their privacy settings so that only a select few of their friends can see what they post. But if you commit a crime that calls into question your innocence and character, the prosecution may ask the courts for a subpoena or search warrant to access your social media accounts. They may even gain access from one of your friend’s accounts. Once they can view your private content, they may find something they can use to discredit your character and give you harsher penalties. 

Exercise caution and good judgment when on social media 

If you are in the middle of a trial, your social media activity during that time will likely be under heavy surveillance by the prosecution. To avoid potential issues, you should always exercise good judgment. You are an adult, and any illegal activities you engage in can lead to you receiving charges and a criminal record. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when posting and sharing things online is if it is not acceptable to your parents or law enforcement, do not post it. Anything that has the potential to be misconstrued or offend others is not appropriate for social media and can negatively impact your situation. 

If you are currently facing criminal charges and feel your social media accounts may contain evidence against you, do not delete any of your posts. Deleting information from your social media accounts is the same as you destroying evidence and can hurt your situation even more. You should speak to an attorney about the matter to learn your options.