Moss and Plunkett Explain Admissibility of Social Media Posts

In an article for DRI's For the Defense, Shook Partner Eileen Moss and Associate Melissa Plunkett explore the admissibility of social media posts as trial evidence. As with any evidence, they explain, social media posts must be authentic, relevant and not unfairly prejudicial or subject to an exclusionary rule.
The authors provide examples of social media posts admitted at trial, including Facebook messages admitted to prove a defendant's gang membership, chat logs admitted after authentication by a participant and MySpace photos admitted as impeachment evidence. 
"Lawyers cannot disregard the widespread use of social media and the potential evidentiary value of information posted on social media platforms," Moss and Plunkett advise. "Practitioners must be familiar with the evidentiary standards governing the admission of such evidence to use social media evidence effectively at trial. By presenting information in this article regarding these standards, it is hoped that attorneys will become familiar with the hurdles faced by parties seeking to offer such information into evidence at trial. Also, while this article does not address every issue that could possibly be raised and provides only examples of federal cases where social media posts were admitted into evidence, the authors hope that this article arms practitioners with some of the options available for overcoming these hurdles."