Social media allows us to be more involved in each other’s lives. This can be a good or bad thing! Have you ever opened Facebook to see a picture of a co-worker doing something fun in the middle of the day and thought, gee, isn’t she supposed to be sick today? It is possible that her boss, and everyone else working with you, saw that picture too. There are ways that someone might be able to view a post on your social media channel, even if he is not your friend, depending on the settings and tagging capabilities. There are also ways to tell the date and the time a picture was taken even if it was posted later.
If you are currently involved in a personal injury or workers’ compensation case, it is best to STAY AWAY from posting anything on social media sites, other than liking posts when your friends celebrate important events. Pictures and comments can easily be taken out of context even if there is nothing deceptive happening. You can be sure that the insurance company on the other side is looking to catch you doing something that according to you or your doctor, you cannot do. Your social media posts could be introduced as evidence in your case! Other technology such as Fitbit activity trackers, smart watches, and apps such as Map My Ride, Map My Run, and My Fitness Pal also track activity that could be used in an ongoing case.
It is a good practice to change security and privacy settings on your social media sites to the highest level of restricted activity, even just to protect from strangers accessing photos of you and your family. But there are still ways that information can be accessible to strangers through other people posting or tagging. We should all be cautious about what is posted on any social media site and how it can be manipulated to affect our lives now and in the future. When in doubt, just DON’T POST!
Once you have posted something, if you have an ongoing case, don’t delete it! There is always the possibility that someone else has accessed or saved the data. When it comes to your case, there are laws that say you are not supposed to destroy evidence. If you think you have something on your Facebook or Instagram account that could affect your case, talk to your lawyer about what you should do. The law on social media is changing all the time and each case is different, so it’s best to talk to a professional.
Leto Copeley and Dan Pope recently presented at the North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference on this topic: What You Don’t Know About Facebook (and Twitter and Instagram . . .) Could Hurt You