Leverage Your Client’s Social Media

Leverage Your Client’s Social Media

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Collecting, reviewing, and securing a client’s social media data should become part of any litigators workflow.  Nearly 230 million people, or 70%, of the U.S. population use social media, creating thousands of posts, comments, messages, and other content each day. It is highly probable that information contained in these accounts may be beneficial or detrimental to your clients’ case. Major social media platforms operating world wide, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Linkedin are required to conform to the General Data Protection Regulations or GDPR.

The GDPR regulations are many, but Article 20: The Right to Data Portability, is extremely beneficial to litigators and their clients. 

“1. The data subject shall have the right to receive the personal data concerning him or her, which he or she has provided to a controller, in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format and have the right to transmit those data to another controller without hindrance from the controller to which the personal data have been provided, where:

(a) the processing is based on consent pursuant to point (a) of Article 6(1) or point (a) of Article 9(2) or on a contract pursuant to point (b) of Article 6(1); and

(b) the processing is carried out by automated means.

2. In exercising his or her right to data portability pursuant to paragraph 1, the data subject shall have the right to have the personal data transmitted directly from one controller to another, where technically feasible.

3. The exercise of the right referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article shall be without prejudice to Article 17. 2That right shall not apply to processing necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller.

4. The right referred to in paragraph 1 shall not adversely affect the rights and freedoms of others.

This rule requires social media platforms to provide an archive of a users’ data upon request in a “commonly used and machine-readable format”. When engaging with a client collecting these archives should be one of your top priorities, because it allows you to vet a clients’ statements and spot data relevant to their case. 

Reviewing this archived data is possible, but is extremely time consuming and tedious, as it is in “machine readable format”. Our tool, Novara, allows you to search this data natively. What does “natively” mean? Native viewing displays posts, photos, comments etc. as they appear on the platform they were exported from. So a Facebook post or Tweet appears exactly how it would in Facebook or Twitter. Novara currently supports Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Linkedin, and Slack data, with real time search, tagging, and productions. 

Securing your clients’ accounts is just as important as collecting the account data. Most users of social media do not realize that by default their posts, comments, photos etc.. are publicly accessible. This means that if left unsecured opposing counsel also has the ability to scrape and review this data. 

Collecting and securing these accounts will give you a strategic advantage during litigation and increase the chances of a favorable case outcome.

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