The internet lives forever and what you post also lives on and can come back to haunt you, particularly if you are engaged in a court case of any sort.
In the first instance, it is important to remember that anything you post on social media is most likely admissible in a court. “Admissible” means that a judge could see it and it could be utilized as evidence against you. If you contest that you did not post something, YOU have the burden of proving that someone else had access to your account and is responsible for the post.
You can avoid exposure and discomfort by following some basic guidelines:
- Mind your photos: It goes without saying that photos of you can find their way to the internet. You can utilize privacy settings on Facebook and Instagram that block people from “tagging” you, and you should be vigilant about what gets posted and also who can see it.
- Calling Names CAN hurt you: If your ex or someone close to them posts something inflammatory, the temptation is great to respond to “defend your honor”. DON’T. And instruct your friends and family not to, either. A “war of words” may suggest that you are unable to manage your own emotions or have poor impulse control. Similarly, resist the urge to post something provocative about them in retaliation.
- Privacy, Privacy, Privacy: Set your privacy settings on ALL social media to the highest possible settings. The first thing an opposing Attorney will do is look at your Facebook and Instagram pages, and see what you are doing on twitter. Your social media footprint should NEVER be “public” or otherwise easily accessible. If you #hashtag something on Twitter or Instagram, remember that it is searchable and what is found can be damaging.
The best rule of thumb is: if you don’t want it out there, don’t put it out there. Zealously guarding your privacy and reputation is worth missing a few “likes” or tags.