The Importance Of Social Media Information
I. How can discovery be used to obtain social media information and what limitations do courts place upon this information?
II. How can social media information be authenticated in court?
I. While multiple methods exist, the best method is for parties to use traditional discovery mechanisms such as production requests to obtain any social media information as long as that information meets relevance standards.
II. Social media information can be authenticated within the existing framework for authentication and by effectively using other discovery tools.
Information from social media is generally discoverable and attorneys can best obtain it through traditional discovery means such as requests …show more content…
Facebook is protected under federal law from releasing the data and information of its patrons because it is an Internet Service Provider. 18 U.S.C. § 2702 (2012); Crispin v. Christian Audigier, Inc., 717 F. Supp. 2d 965, 991 (C.D. Cal. 2010). As § 2702 does not have an exception for civil suits, Facebook’s policy is to not respond to subpoenas seeking users’ content. Information on Civil Subpoenas, Law Enforcement & Third-Party Matters (June 8, 2015), https://www.facebook.com/help/473784375 984502. Facebook does provide a small exception, which is that parties may obtain basic subscriber information, but they require that you specifically identify the account by its Facebook ID and will only accept a “federal, California, or California domesticated subpoena,” Id. § 2702, through, does not restrict a user from granting access to its information and so if a party were to grant access then Facebook will release information. Steven S. Gensler, Special Rules for Social Media Discovery?, 65 Ark. L. Rev. 7, 28 (2012). Nevertheless, obtaining information from Facebook represents one of the worst methods of discovery and other methods should be used …show more content…
Fed. R. Civ. P. 34; K.S.A. § 60-234 (2014). Courts have generally allowed this method because it mitigates any privacy concerns by allowing the other party to produce the information themselves. Held v. Ferrellgas, Inc., No. 10-2393-EFM, 2011 WL 3896513, at *1 (D. Kan. Aug. 31, 2011). Parties have the ability to download all of their Facebook account information including the accompanying data. Information on Civil Subpoenas, Law Enforcement & Third-Party Matters (June 8, 2015), https://www.facebook.com/help/473784375984502. Browning suggests that parties frame their requests specifically instead of broadly such as “all online profiles, postings, messages (including, but not limited to, tweets, replies, re-tweets, direct messages, status updates, wall comments, groups joined, activity streams, and blog entries), photographs, videos, and online communication” relating to particular claim.” Browning, supra, at 474. As an example from a case (below), No. 15 was considered a valid discovery request because it was narrowly tailored, while No. 18 was considered too broad by the court. Smith v. Hillshire Brands, No. 12-2605-CM (D. Kan. June 20,