“If you can’t stop thinking about someone’s update, that’s called ‘status cling.’”
– Jessica Park, Flat Out Love.
In this day and age, posting on social media has become a very important part of regular life. However, when a person becomes involved in a lawsuit, social media can become a battleground. We are now seeing more and more cases that are influenced by social media.
Unfortunately, even though it may be clear that the other driver is at fault for a wreck, his lawyers may use Facebook as a means of finding, and in some instances, creating evidence against you. Attorneys will use their staff members or paid contractors to friend the injured victims and then stalk their Facebook accounts or even interact with the victims for the purpose of gaining information. Lawyers for the insurance companies will use pictures of people bowling, vacationing or even walking around as an argument against them and their injuries. They will claim that the pictures were posted on Facebook near the time of the collision. Many times, it requires friends and family members to testify that the pictures in question were POSTED on Facebook long after they were taken.
We are also learning that Facebook is not as consequence free as we may think. A court in Buncombe County, North Carolina has approved a settlement for $500,000 for defamation over comments that were made on Facebook. An article published by the Asheville Citizen Times, and distributed through the American Bar Association Journal, reported that this settlement was related to a woman who posted, “I didn’t get drunk and kill my kid” in response to posts related to the general manager of a low-wattage radio station in the area. The manager had a son who was killed in an accidental shooting while playing with another boy in 1976. The manager had no involvement in her son’s shooting. The article quoted the manager as stating that she sued partly to “make a statement to the community that you can’t get on social media and run your mouth without consequences.” As we continue to live in the age of social media, we expect for litigation about Facebook to continue.