Social Media and the Implications for E-Discovery


The prevalent use of social media as a form of global grapevine has revolutionized the way we communicate, collaborate, and form popular opinion. The use of social media by employees has also impacted on the way that companies need to view the true extent of the data that needs to be preserved in the event of a litigation hold.

Courts are being called upon to consider for the first time, whether statements, commentary and postings made by employees on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, are discoverable. Statements made in instant messages (IM’s), group discussion boards, forums, and conceivably skype and the new google chat, are open for legal debate in the courts. And ‘data’ extends to that kept by employees on mobile devices such as blackberries, iphones, ipads, laptops and the new generation of tablets currently hitting the markets.

The legal department needs to get up to speed on the full impact of social media upon the e-discovery process. Advice from the judicial fraternity points to the need for all businesses to institute a social media policy.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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