Friend or Foe? Social Networking and E-Discovery

It took several years for U.S. law to catch up with the challenges of electronically stored information and communication. For the most part, though, it has. But now we have a new disrupter in electronic discovery: social networking on sites such as Facebook. Social networking raises a multitude of new legal issues, two of which are discussed here.

Friending under pretext

The plaintiff's apparent lack of concern for her own privacy, as evidenced by her demonstrated willingness to "friend" strangers, could not excuse this course of action by the inquiring lawyer.

"Deception is deception, regardless of the victim's wariness in her interactions on the Internet and susceptibility to being deceived. The fact... that the witness is perhaps insufficiently wary of deceit by unknown Internet users, does not mean that deception at the direction of the inquirer is ethical."

Clifford F. Shnier

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