There has been a lot of controversy recently over the use of Facebook for investigative purposes, but in some states, the courts have been granting access to specific Facebook pages. The investigation of individual’s Facebook pages is becoming a standard area of inquiry in the overall investigation of a personal injury and other types of cases such as divorce. This is especially true by insurance companies and defense attorneys as they push the limits to find information to help defend personal injury cases.
Although Facebook pages that have no privacy settings turned have long been up for grabs, some courts are now allowing insurance companies and defense attorneys access to private pages in hopes of finding information that will be damaging to the injured person’s case. If you have been injured in an accident, be careful what you post on your Facebook or other social networking site. Party pictures, vacation pictures or even pictures of dancing at a wedding, can be taken out of context and be used to question if you are really as hurt as you say you are.
While not all courts are allowing an invasion of a privately set up social network page without some evidence that it is necessary, no one should assume that their privacy is protected even with their page settings set to Private. Private investigators have gotten quire good at breaking through the privacy settings, court order or no court order.
You must assume that any allegations of fraud or malingering will provide the basis for a court to order the invasion into a private Facebook page.
The lesson to be learned is be careful on what you post on Facebook or other social networking sites. If it’s not on the site, it can’t be found by anyone with or without a court order, period.