January 01, 2013

iWitness: The Admissibility of Social Media Evidence

Behind the mad dash to introduce social media evidence lies potentially complex issues of authentication and hearsay.

Josh Gilliland

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A lawyer recently expressed to me serious doubts about using evidence from social media websites. According to him, electronically stored information (ESI) can never be trusted without the proffering party proving each step of creation to guarantee its authenticity. But that would be the equivalent of requiring a team of experts to authenticate a hard-copy document. You’d start with a lumberjack to explain how a tree was cut down. An expert on how trees are made into paper would follow. Another expert would detail how ink works, and so on and so on.

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