Social media has become one of the most common reasons why people use the internet. According to research by the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 years use social media. Overall, 65 percent of adults now use social media. The increase in social media use represents a tenfold increase in the past decade. For many people, social media has become the preferred method of staying in touch with family, friends, and the world around us.
However, if the recent presidential campaign taught us anything, it is the power of social media. It taught us that tweeting in the middle of the night can have both positive and negative results, depending on which said of the fence you are standing at the end of the day. And most of all, we learned that what we send over the internet is NOT private. Even state secrets and confidential emails are not secure.
Social Medial And Criminal Investigations
To answer your question about social media being used to obtain a criminal conviction, the short answer is “yes.” Everything you post online is there forever. Even if you delete a post, that post remains somewhere other there forever. So, if you were at a party on campus where there was underage drinking, and you post pictures of you and your friends handing freshman beers, that picture is out there.
The next day when you sober up and realize that posting pictures of you and your friends providing alcohol to minors was not such a great idea and delete the picture, it is too late. That picture could have been shared many times. Even if it is not shared, that picture is sitting somewhere “out there” waiting to be accessed by law enforcement. Four out of five officers use social media during an investigation. In fact, that new friend request could very well be an undercover officer.
The simple way to protect yourself is to use restraint regarding social media. If you don’t want law enforcement, your college, a potential employer, or your mother seeing something, don’t post it. The fact is that the use of social media in criminal cases is expanding each day. If you put incriminating information online, it can be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding. It is that simple. You must be careful what you post online.
Some law enforcement agencies have formed departments dedicated to using the internet as an investigative tool. Others are initiating training for officers on techniques to use social media to gather evidence. As more law enforcement agencies embrace the use of the internet and social media accounts in investigations, the danger of posting certain information online will increase tremendously.
Remember, when you post on social media, you are also trusting the judgment of each of your friends and possibly each of your friends’ friends. Do you really trust all those people to keep your information private and confidential? The risk is not worth the LOLs, smiley’s and thumbs ups you receive for an incriminating post.
Contact A Criminal Defense Attorney For More Information
If you have been charged with a crime or you believe you may be under investigation, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side immediately. Contact The Travis Law Firm toll-free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.
Our criminal defense attorneys represent clients throughout McKean County, Erie County, Crawford County, and the surrounding areas. We have offices in Erie, Warren, and Edinboro for your convenience.