Social Media and Court Evidence

Your social media posts can be used as evidence against you. This can be especially concerning when discussing legal rights on topics such as custody of a child. Contrary to popular belief, it is legal to use communications garnered from social media sites as evidence. Also, trying to delete your social media content isn’t wise during trials. Furthermore, you should not expect the encryption technology used by most modern messaging apps to prevent others from accessing your content. Even “permanently” deleted content can be recovered using new-gen forensic recovery methods.

For example, in a February 2016 court case in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, the FBI wanted Apple’s help to unlock an iPhone 5C it recovered from a terrorist suspect. The phone was locked with a four-digit password and set to eliminate all its data after ten failed password attempts. Apple declined the request but a day before the scheduled court hearing, the FBI said they had found a third party able to assist in unlocking the iPhone. They later announced that they had unlocked it.

Even if your personal device is password protected, it does not mean that the authorities cannot legally get access to it. Suspects and parties undertaking a trial can be served with a disclosure notice demanding them to reveal all passwords. Failure to comply can lead to further penalties.

Everything you share on social media can become part of the public record – whether you want it or not. For that reason it is important to discuss your evidence with a qualified attorney. Contact the litigation experts at Justice Legal Group by calling 505-880-8737 or emailing us at