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Social Media and Litigation

Written by: Ziv Tsimerman

Millions of Canadians use social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram on a daily basis. These social networks often contain personal information, regrettable photographs, and even inappropriate or offensive content. Social networks play an important role in the civil litigation process, and a party to litigation should be aware of the following key points:

  1. Although there is no legal principle associated with the use of evidence found in social networks, the Rules of Civil Procedure state that each party must disclose every document relevant to any matter in issue that is in their possession, control, or power. Such evidence must be produced unless it is privileged. Canadian common law has made it clear that contents on social media is subject to the aforementioned rule and is not privileged. Therefore, any relevant photographs, notes, posts, and comments may be produced during the litigation process.
  2. Contents posted on social media will assist an opposing party in determining the true nature and extent of your injuries. Social network browsing is a common method of surveillance, and is often relied upon by insurance companies throughout litigation.
  3. Privacy settings are a useful tool in controlling the content displayed on social media. Furthermore, privacy settings allow you to control who has access to your profile. It is important to keep in mind that contents on your social networks may impeach or harm your credibility as a party to litigation. Thus, in the interest of obtaining a just resolution of your matter, it would be beneficial to use strict privacy settings on all social media networks and applications when beginning or contemplating litigation.

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