In Largent v. Reed v. Pena, which involved personal injury claims stemming from an accident between a car and motorcycle, the defense moved to compel the release of the plaintiff’s Facebook username and password, claiming that at a time after the accident the profile was set to public. When viewed publicly, they found relevant photos and posts that could refute her claims of serious and severe injury.
The court held that the plaintiff’s Facebook account was not “privileged” and noted:
“There is no reasonable expectation of privacy in material posted on Facebook. Almost all information on Facebook is shared with third parties, and there is no reasonable privacy expectation in such information. When a user communicates on Facebook, her posts may be shared with strangers. And making a Facebook page ‘private’ does not shield it from discovery … By definition, there can be little privacy on a social networking website … Only the uninitiated or foolish could believe that Facebook is an online lockbox of secrets.”
This text originally appeared in an article by company owner Lyn Mettler in the Indiana Civil Litigation Review.
For information about efficiently and effectively monitoring plaintiff’s social media accounts to catch public data as soon as it’s posted even if it’s later deleted, contact Lyn Mettler at (317) 721-8660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.