The world of social media is transforming class action lawsuits significantly. In less than five years, we have seen significant changes in the way people interact on the internet, do business and live.
There are also new ways of retrieving, creating and sharing information and data across social media networks. Despite having a great significance in our lives, social media also has a significant impact on class action lawsuits.
Social media has become a big part of how litigations are conducted. Social media may influence every aspect of the litigation process, from when one meets a lawyer to the last stage of the ruling. It also affects family, civil and criminal law litigations.
Social media comes with great potential and many dangers for both clients and lawyers. On many occasions, you may read about a lawyer’s contract being terminated after tweeting his opposition to the changing of some laws. A professional leader was fired for being seen in a Facebook photo posing inappropriately.
The pain of being fired because of a social media post or what you blogged can have a significant impact on everyone’s social life.
Social Media’s Influence on Class Action Lawsuits
Most people use social media for communication. These communications are mostly open and available to third parties. On social media, many people are revealing and frank about their personal affairs, franker than they would be with a complete stranger.
Connecting a class action lawsuit to social media is not hard, especially to an active page. But private accounts are not safe; there may be a repost of something that may be limited to or unnecessary to followers- mostly when the post may be associated with someone involved in the litigation.
Also, many law firms use social media to lure in more plaintiffs in a mass tort case. According to X Social Media, the budget for such gargantuan online marketing efforts may run from $100,000 per month (the basic package) to $250,000 per month (the premium package). But usually, this is money well spent since mass torts bring millions of dollars in attorney fees.
Social media also often finds itself as the center point of family dispute cases. In cases involving harassment, intimidation, and threats, posts from Twitter and Facebook are often used as proof. Photos of expensive holidays and meals are used in cases involving financial remedies and divorce.
Discussing family proceedings on social media can be a breach of law privacy. Evidence of wild lifestyle on social media could also suggest a parent is not fit to be a resident parent to a child.
Misuse of social media posts can be actionable to themselves. Under the communication act, a litigator can be imprisoned for inappropriate posts on social media platforms. Misconduct and posting obscene comments about a colleague may hold one liable, and extreme action may follow.
Uses of Social Media in Modern Litigations
Social media, as a part of our daily lives, may also affect a class-action lawsuit. From daily divorce cases to multi-million dollar lawsuits, social media significantly impacts the law industry. Social media is a powerful and destructive tool for litigators in the following ways:
- Information gathering
- Its impact on the jury.
1. Information Gathering
Social media platforms have become a quick way to gather information and evidence when building a case. Peopletend to overshare information on social media and are willing to tell the world what is happening in their lives. Defendants in litigation might run social media searches of the plaintiffs and other people involved in a case, gather enough evidence of wrongdoing and use that evidence against them.
2. Impact on the Jury
Social media is causing problems for jurors. It has opened a way for inappropriate contact among judges, witnesses, and attorneys. Most states forbid jurors from interacting on social media, including being friends on social media, but many jurors disobey these guidelines.
Social media comes with tremendous opportunities and challenges for class action lawsuits. It is getting its way in the law industry as litigators now do their research on their adversaries on Google and gather evidence from social media to help in their cases.
Also, third-party agencies advertise their services on social media platforms giving rise to privacy and security concerns. When It comes to social media platforms, it is best to be conversant with the information you share and its impact.