When TMI on social media spells trouble

Why some people take pride in the fact their Facebook profile emulates an episode of Tosh.0 is beyond me. (I am not saying that I don't watch the show and laugh hysterically. But, simultaneously, I do wonder why people put some of this stuff up on the Internet for the entire world to see.) While Facebook has been in the news recently for its upcoming IPO, another story, about Facebook privacy, caught my attention on the radio as I was brushing my teeth this morning. Apparently, Facebook is still working on deleting photos from its servers in a timely manner nearly three years after the issue was brought to Facebook's attention. Have you ever deleted a horrific photo on Facebook that was posted by a "friend?" Well, you may not have really deleted it. Photos "deleted" from Facebook seemingly never go away if you have a direct link to the image file on Facebook's servers. Just imagine the joy felt by those individuals who had the common sense or foresight to delete photos because they didn't want retaliation from an employer, wanted to avoid family drama or uploaded a photo of a friend without permission, to name a few reasons, when they discovered the photo would remain accessible for an indefinite amount of time as long as someone had a direct link to the .jpg file in question. A few months ago, I had to research the discoverability of information and data on a Facebook (or other social media) account and profile. From the limited guidance published by a few jurisdictions, it seems that a party would likely succeed in requesting Facebook information and data during the discovery process. The court's interpretation of federal Rule 26(b)(2)(c) allows for an extremely broad scope of relevancy. While Maryland courts have not ruled on this broad scope of relevancy as it pertains to social media discoverability pursuant to Rule 26(b)(2)(c), it has ruled on its reliability and authentication. In April 2011, the Maryland Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of Antoine Griffin, which was based on evidence gathered from a MySpace profile of Griffin's girlfriend. The Court of Special Appeals had ruled the police officer proffered by the state as an authenticating witness was sufficient to authenticate the MySpace profile printout. (A law professor from Chicago gave a great summary of this case on his blog and I will highlight some points here.)

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