In light of the recent ruling that tweets are, in fact, official statements – Gary Bruce discusses the use of social media as evidence in a lawsuit. The holding that tweets are official statements means that they are binding as sworn testimony. A statement that what you post on Twitter has the same effect as something you say out loud in a courtroom. This is particularly important and familiar due to President Trump’s use of Twitter. Those in high profile positions, such as President Trump, have a vast audience and should exercise care in what they post.
Social media is frequently utilized in the practice of law because it can be used to build a case against an individual. Your social media account gives away a lot of information that may not seem important on its face, so we encourage people to limit what they post on social media. If you have any questions concerning the use of social media as evidence, please call the Law Offices of Gary Bruce at 706-596-1446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a meeting and free consultation.
Narrator: Now answering your questions about the law and legal issues, this is Legal Break with attorney, Gary Bruce.
Maureen: Hello there. We are here with Gary again, as always, thank you so much for joining us again.
Gary: Good to be here, thank you.
Maureen: Well the president is doing a lot of tweeting these days, Gary. Do you tweet?
Gary: I read tweets, yes. I find it interesting, but I don’t I don’t add a lot.
Maureen: Yeah, I’m right there with you. So, a judge recently ruled that his tweets are official statements. How does that ruling affect, or how can it potentially affect our daily lives?
Gary: I don’t know. My life is disrupted enough by these tweets, I think. I think we all agree on that, right? But they’ve proclaimed them as official statements. I guess they are then binding as sworn testimony, maybe. You know, he’s been kind of bitten on the backside by them a few times, saying things in tweets that then the courts incorporate into rulings that, you know, don’t support necessarily the position of the government. So, I don’t know, I think they’re out there. You know, it’s like all of us, we live with the tweets we put out. And particularly in that kind of high-profile situation, what you say matters. So, I do think it’s important that he recognize or the administration recognize they are, kind of, official government statements.
Maureen: And their take going forward on those? So, I guess on that note, can a post on social media be used as evidence against us? And anything that we may do?
Gary: Well, good question. You know, when we talk to clients I encourage them to just stay off of Facebook, and the social media stuff that deals with their case anyway. You know you can still participate, you can still be part of the discussion, but let’s not talk about too much. We use it a lot, I mean I don’t want to give away too many secrets but if we need to find somebody, sometimes you find them that way, you find out what activities are involved in, you’ll see whether they’re remorseful or not- about something they may have done to somebody, you may find out witnesses, might find out what activities you enjoy or don’t enjoy. So, it gives away a lot of information that may not seem so immediate on its face, you know? So, it is important I think to, I don’t know, put it out there if you don’t have anything to worry about. But we do use it as a tool quite a bit.
Maureen: Yeah, so it can possibly be used against you in a court case, right?
Gary: Certainly. And cases, and the law is loosened up, the evidence law has loosened up some now. So, this stuff does come in, it is important, and it’s out there.
Maureen: What’s the rule of thumb in social media?
Gary: Just say no.
Maureen: Just say no, or I guess I’ve heard, “don’t put anything out there you don’t want your grandma to see.”
Gary: That’s probably good advice.
Maureen: Great, thank you so much for joining us today, Gary, and we look forward to seeing you in the very next Legal Break.