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Social Media Screenshots No Substitute for Spoliated Native Files

We have discussed before the challenges associated with collecting and authenticating social media evidence, including the unsuitability of relying on screenshots in most circumstances. Recently, in the case of Edwards, Jr. v. Junior State of America Foundation (E.D. Tex. Apr. 23, 2021), a United States District Judge found screenshots to be inadequate and the loss of the native files to be spoliation, resulting in the exclusion all related evidence.

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More Recent Social Media Cases, 2020 Social Media Update Part 4

In this multi-part update series, we are reviewing recent statistics, news, resources, and cases related to social media in eDiscovery and the technical and legal challenges it creates for practitioners. This part discusses recent social media cases touching on Slack sources and other topics.

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Recent Social Media Cases, 2020 Social Media Update Part 3

In this multi-part update series, we are reviewing recent statistics, news, resources, and cases related to social media in eDiscovery and the technical and legal challenges it creates for practitioners. This part discusses recent social media cases touching on discoverability, spoliation, and ephemeral messaging.

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Growing Challenges, 2020 Social Media Update Part 2

In this multi-part update series, we are reviewing recent statistics, news, resources, and cases related to social media in eDiscovery and the technical and legal challenges it creates for practitioners. This part discusses three aspects of social media evidence have become frequently-discussed areas of growing or potential challenges for practitioners: ephemeral messaging, emoji, and deepfakes.

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New Notifications, 2020 Social Media Update Part 1

As a review of almost any day’s news will demonstrate, social media remains an influential, indispensable part of American life, and its impact on discovery has been growing proportionately. In this multi-part update series, we will review recent statistics, news, resources, and cases related to social media in eDiscovery and the technical and legal challenges it creates for practitioners.

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Trending: Social Media in eDiscovery

As social media has been working its way ever deeper into our relationships, professional activities, and culture, its impact on discovery has been growing as well. Unfortunately, the nature, diversity, and volume of social media data continue to present a variety of technical and legal challenges for practitioners. So, we are revisiting this topic – one of our most popular of last year – updated with new usage data, new revelations about available ESI, new rule amendments and cases, and more.

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Social Media Summary – Gone Viral Series, Part 8

This multi-part series on how to overcome the technical and legal challenges raised by the involvement of social media sources and data in electronic discovery ends with a summary and set of key takeaways. This includes covering social media sources of ESI, the acquisition, authentication, spoliation, reliability of evidence and the ethical concerns therein.

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Ethics and Reliability in Social Media – Gone Viral Series, Part 7

In addition to the obvious need to not to intentionally spoliate or advise spoliation, the rise in the use of social media as evidence has developed ethics and reliability concerns for attorneys. Consequently, this rise in importance has led to additional questions that state bars have begun to address. Concerns are raised in the reliability of social media data gathered, as the Internet has seen a massive surge in deliberately fake content.  Some of it is intended only to entertain or advertise or get attention, but some of it is intended to sow confusion and misinformation.

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Spoliation of Social Media Evidence – Gone Viral Series, Part 6

An August 2016 review by X1 uncovered more than 9,500 cases from the preceding 12 months in which social media evidence played a significant role – growth of more than 50% over the prior year. The rise in the presence of social media in the courts has led to preservation and spoliation concerns. Social media evidence is more frequently being treated as a standard source–if relevant, it must be preserved and produced and not altered, deleted, or hidden. It is clear from the six cases covered in this article that, while parties and their attorneys may be struggling with social media, courts are very comfortable treating it like any other source of evidence: if relevant, it needs to be preserved and produced; and, under no circumstances should it be intentionally altered, deleted, or hidden.

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Social Media Evidence Authentication in the Courts – Gone Viral Series, Part 5

When looking at the authentication of social media evidence in the courts, we can focus on cases from Maryland and Texas. These were two of the first states to address these issues at the appellate level, and each staked out a different position that has since been followed by other states. The Maryland Rule embodies the fear of “voodoo information,” requiring a better demonstration of authenticity before the evidence can reach the jury, while the Texas Rule entrusts the disputed fact conclusions to the jury. The two approaches taken reflect the tension we reviewed in the previous part, between permissive rules and fearful judges.

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Authentication and Admissibility of Social Media Evidence – Gone Viral Series, Part 4

In order for any of the materials you have preserved and collected to be usable at trial, they will have to be admitted as evidence. When it comes to successfully admitting social media as evidence, the materials must be both authentic and admissible. The admissibility of the evidence looks at its relevance, possibility of prejudice, and status of hearsay. Likewise, a witness with knowledge providing authenticating testimony and considering distinctive characteristics of evidence are examples of ways to establish authenticity.

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Legal Mechanisms for Social Media Discovery – Gone Viral Series, Part 3

While the publicly-shared materials on social media services can be collected directly by any party, the non-public data in those user accounts can only be obtained through discovery. When traditional requests for direct scope negotiations fail, parties must try to work with alternative legal mechanisms within social media discovery. These have included In Camera Review, Password Requests, and Service Provider Subpoenas.

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