It might be tempting to treat your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts as private spaces that you only share with certain friends, but the information you post there can be used against you in court. This is true even if you have your privacy settings turned all the way up. While it’s probably smart to be judicious about what you post anyway, once you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s even more important to watch what you post.
What are police looking for?
Your social media accounts contain a lot of information; particularly if you’re an active poster. The most obvious information would be the content of your posts. Do you talk about your charges? Have you unwittingly admitted to something, thinking you were only talking to your friends? Even if you post privately, this doesn’t stop someone from taking a screen shot of what you post and sending it to the police. Police can also issue a warrant or subpoena for information that is not readily available to the public.
While your posts themselves can contain information prosecutors might find valuable, they may also find value in your friends lists or other information they can glean from your profile. For example, it’s possible to determine where you were when you posted certain updates. Your contact information may also be visible, as well as any aliases or personal connections to other people they may be interested in talking to.
Should you give up social media?
While there’s not much you can do about posts you’ve already made, it may be worth taking a break from social media while you have charges pending against you. At the very least, practice caution and post conservatively. The most important thing is to speak with an established criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights and make sure you’re not unwittingly doing anything to compromise your own situation.