Even Your ‘Friends Only’ Facebook Material Can Be Used in Court

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Be careful what you post on your Facebook account, because it might end up being used against you in a court of law. This isn’t another case where someone else may be claiming that anything and everything that you post online is fair game in terms of copyright, however.

Instead, there’s the possibility that you might end up as your own worst enemy in any future lawsuits as opposing counsels use your Facebook updates or photos to prove their case – whether or not they’re normally available for public viewing.

San Francisco-based lawyer Eric Sinrod writes about what he calls “a judicial willingness to compel the disclosure of Facebook material to the other side in litigation” over at FindLaw, noting that “in at least one case, McMillen v. Hummingbird Speedway, the court ordered that disclosure of the Facebook password of one of the parties so that access could be gained by the other side to the relevant Facebook account.”

This isn’t always the case; Sinrod also mentions another case, Piccolo v. Paterson, where the court refused a similar request – although, as he points out, this may have been because similar evidence was available already.

But there is something disturbing about the lengths to which even “private” information can be made public if the court decides that it’s necessary. The moral of this story may, in the end, be that you shouldn’t put anything on Facebook that you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with the world, Friends-Only or not.

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