Facebook The New PI?



facebook the new PIFacebook, oh how we love our Facebook but is it putting you at risk? It is our profile and we are talking to our friends so we have a false sense of security and easily forget big brother is watching. Not so sure? Well, we know that what what we say can and will be used against us in the court of law. Well, how many of us have to go in front of the courts? Not an every day thing but we do have to go in front of Twitter and Facebook multiple times of day and what we say “can and will be used against us in the court of Facebook or Twitter.” Ready to dismiss this as not me, roll your eyes and have your hand on the mouse to click off? Of course you are but yet you wonder is Facebook the new PI and am I guilty and wait, is there a Facebook big brother? It makes you think for a second about you and then wonder what everyone else is doing that makes this even be discussed.

Facebook as the New PI?

Private investigators are breathing a whole lot easier these days as Facebook is helping them do thier job. They know that people just cannot resist posting things that will come into question. The rant over the ex, the photos of the weekend parties and activities, the code words that people use thinking they are sly. It is what we do and the courts are taking notice. A lawyer is hired by their client to win the case and the more cases they win, the more clients they get. There are constantly things in our lives are are going on and we need to talk about them and Facebook has given us the platform to do so. How does someone really feel? Check their Facebook as it tells more than we probably ever wanted to know.

Time to Amend Miranda Warnings?

Miranda warnings are your rights when suspected of a crime, interrogated about that crime and/or arrested. I get that many of us have never been arrested and that this does not come into play but maybe it should in our minds. As a refresher, Miranda Warnings became law in 1966 in the Supreme Court decision under Miranda vs Arizona. It has since been amended in 2010 in Berghuis vs Thompkins that it must be clearly stated before or during the interrogation that they are envoking their right to be silent and not speak with the police to ensure that they are not self-incriminating. We forget that in any lawsuit/court proceedings in a civil, family, probate and even as a witness that what we say whether verbally or posted online can be brought into evidence. The relevance is determined by the Judge and it is at their discretion to allow it. Enter that rant on Facebook; is it relevant or better, can it be interpreted as relevant?  Again, attorneys are trying to win cases for their client and what they can easily dig up on you is their job. The same way that clients/customers are look at you before they hire.

Facebook as a Ticket out of Jury Duty

Can Facebook really disqualify you as a juror? Yes it can! For some it is a “where do I sign up” and others it is a “well I respect the Court but Jury Duty is such a pain.” It is but at the same time the laywers, the defendant, the plaintiff, the prosecution in criminal cases rely upon us to help them do their job. In big cases they used to rely solely upon questioning the jurors and having their jury consultant on hand but now, they have their laptop or iPad to scope you out and disqualify you. To get your get out of jury duty ticket online will become harder but as of now, being a hater of X, Y, Z  or believer of X.Y,Z can ultimately give you the get out of jury duty free. Some are rushing to change their Facebook to “everyone” and filling it with opinions and reasons as to why they cannot serve on a case while others are looking at their Jury Duty date and piping down and ensuring their Facebook is set to the highest privacy as Facebook allows.

Protecting Yourself

The courts are here to protect. I know, this is not always the case as we either have had or have a friend who was given a bad ruling. It happens. But let’s stay with that the courts are here to protect. The lawyers know that people are going to talk about the case, as it is big part of their life and they are sitting waiting to find it. It is not every day that we are in court or dealing with court proceedings so we will seek ways to talk about it. We need the support of our friends and family to get us through the proceedings and ultimately win. We forget that we are going to be scrutinized and digging up all that they can to present in their case is the job of the lawyer/law firm.

The same holds true in every day life outside of the courts. We talk and talk about situations we are involved in whether it be looking for a new job, hating our current job, a new client, a difficult client, our breakups, our new relationships, our health … nothing is safe from being posted on Facebook or a shortened 140 character on Twitter. As small business owners we are looking for that next client, pushing to achieve the goals of current clients but yet we are still a person behind the business. We have to be safe but yet ourselves. We play it safe and create a persona that we want people to adopt based upon a short stream in Twitter or a friend or fan based Facebook.

Facebook is the new PI as there is more shared there then we ever want to know and while the courts are not ready to amend Miranda, should we look at a potential client as doing the same due diligence as the courts?

  • Posting on facebook is like getting a tattoo; it’s permanent and gives everyone who sees it a reason to judge you.

    •  Bob! How are you? So great to see your smiling face today. I hope all is well with you!

      I love your analogy. It is so true and we just forget. We post things that we never think would be ever looked at by the outside world. It gives the attys a chuckle as we are doing their job for them!

      Hope you are well and so great to “see” you!

  • Hi there. Good points raised here. It seems that nothing is safe online in terms of social networking – did you know that people can comment on your updates, photos etc on Facebook if they are not your friend? I did not know that…. but I also like to think of Facebook as the new PI – you can find out a lot about a person if you take a look at their profile.

    • Gabiella

      We can set our privacy on FB but if our “friends” are set to everyone or friends of friends then yes they can comment. Sort of a fake privacy of sorts. You can learn a lot about a person in their profile as the profile asks you to fill it in and people do. Look at their stream and so much more is exposed. It is so easy to get engrossed in filling in a complete profile until you see it how others do. We never really see what they see and that is why so many are experiencing some backtracking.

      Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts as every blog post is emphasized and better with the comments!