Warning for Facebook
Facebook users beware
A Victorian man was recently fired over comments he made on Facebook.
The man was dismissed for allegedly making “crude” and “threatening” comments aimed at his managers.
This case highlights the need for social media users such as Facebook account holders, to be mindful their comments and posts could land them in serious trouble.
In this era of social media popularity users must be aware information they post online is often public and permanent.
Facebook is a public forum and all information published on the site should be presumed to be available to the general public – regardless of their security setting.
Comments and posts on Facebook, for example, may be used as evidence in legal proceedings.
In a recent case in the United States, a key prosecution witness stated she had no contact with the accused after he was charged with an offence. The defendant however was able to show that the witness’s Facebook page contradicted her testimony.
Closer to home, a Canberra law firm persuaded a Supreme Court judge to allow them to serve documents over the internet after repeatedly failing to serve the papers in person after it became apparent the person did not want to be found.
In this case, the court decided Facebook was a legally viable way to communicate.
Social media users must also be aware it is almost impossible to delete or erase posts and comments, permanently.
Online information may be erased from the original poster’s site, but may still be available on other sites or retrieved by computer experts.
In some cases, the courts have barred parties from deleting online material to preserve evidence.
Lawyers savvy to social media use this tool to gather information to their advantage.
Users must be mindful information they post may be viewed by friends, foe, employers and potential employers and anyone else interested enough to go looking.
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