Some lawyers tell clients going through messy divorces to disconnect from every social media account. It is not hard to figure out why when over three quarters of the attorneys surveyed by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) said they had seen an increase in cases involving evidence gleaned from social media.
Lawyers mine incriminating evidence on profile pages, wall comments, status updates, and photo files. The information taken from social media sites is rarely the image a spouse or parent wants to present in court, and negative evidence can affect alimony disputes and custody fights. A compromised parent could easily lose custody, alimony, or both, due to evidence found online.
Divorce attorneys and private investigators searching for information on a client’s wayward spouse or ex-spouse know that social media websites are a good way to catch people doing things they don’t want anyone else to know about.
Beyond leaving a trail of incriminating evidence, the millions of people signed up to social networking sites leave themselves, and even their employers, open to other forms of online crime. Personal in formation such as birth dates, addresses and phone numbers is a big source of business for identity frauds. Hackers scour details posted on work websites to discover passwords that helps them to bypass corporate security and steal users’ log-on details.
More than causing broken relationships and getting people fired at work, using the Internet recklessly can even get people into blackmail trouble and worse. Posting nude or incriminating pictures that end up in the wrong hands can lead to blackmail.
Social networking has been blamed for many things, but the worst may be the link between social networking and a number of suicides indirectly due to impersonations and online harassment.