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Tweets In Court & Social Media Archiving

Almost daily, information keeps pouring in on how social media is increasingly being used in court cases.

(If I haven’t mentioned this resource before, Edd Blog Online is an excellent aggregate service, which collects articles for keeping up with this trend.)

Take this recent case Edd alerted me to, as reported in The Daily Dot for Mashable. In the article: “No Warrant Necessary: Judge Rules Tweets Can Be Used In Court,” it states that any online content made public by a third-party provider can be subpoenaed for use in court. The article goes on to explain the court case against an Occupy Wall Street protester, Malcolm Harris, in which he faces 15 days in prison for disorderly conduct. Apparently, during a protest march on the Brooklyn Bridge last fall, Harris implied through his tweets that he willingly marched on the roadway of the bridge, along with other protesters. When brought to court, Harris stated that it was the police who made him step onto the roadway.

This makes me ponder a few things: Watch what you tweet (no brainer), where does freedom of speech enter into the idea that social media content doesn’t belong to an individual, and going back to delete social media posts doesn’t guarantee that content can’t be used against you in a court of law.

Social media isn’t going anywhere. So, what does that mean for individuals and businesses? I’d say, from an individual standpoint, there’s nothing much to be done except for knowing that what you say publically isn’t heresay any longer. As for businesses, it seems to be the right time to consider social media archiving as part of a comprehensive information management policy.

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