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Don’t Let Fake News Cynicism Get in the Way of Your Social Media Evidence

The following is a guest blog post by Michelle Sherman. Michelle is the author of Winning with Social Media—A Desktop Guide for Lawyers Using Social Media in Litigation and Trial, a 2016 publication from the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. She has tried civil and criminal cases and is currently an in-house corporate legal counsel. She also is an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

For anyone who likes to wake up on a Sunday by reading the newspaper, it’s a sad day that legitimate news organizations are under attack and the term “fake news” has become associated with them. Beyond the personal implications, this may also have negative effects on your law practice. More skeptical jurors may mean that you have to work harder to authenticate documentary evidence, particularly social media evidence.
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How to Authenticate a Social Media Post

493533923Despite its relationship to new technologies, electronic evidence, including social media evidence, is actually treated the same as traditional forms of evidence in terms of admissibility. You can’t get it in without proper authentication. Here’s how it’s done with social media posts.

 

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A Photo Is Still a Photo, Even on Social Media

ThinkstockPhotos-503803495A recent case made headlines simply because it involved Instagram. Don’t be fooled by the hype—new technologies don’t always require new law. A photo is a photo regardless of where it appears, and its admissibility is based on the same law whether it’s a photo taken on a camera or one posted on the hottest new social media website. Continue reading

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