“Creeping” or “Internet Creeping” refers to “stalking” someone on social media, which typically means checking them out or following what’s going on in their life on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+, Youtube and other social media accounts.
If you’re in the midst of a lawsuit and in particular, an auto accident case, you should to be aware of what others post about you and be careful about what you post, and keep in mind that anything that is posted may become part of your case. Perhaps you may even want to stop using social media.
It’s not about being deceitful or hiding “things”. You should never be deceitful in a lawsuit. So why should you be aware and careful?
It is becoming standard practice for insurance companies and their lawyers to run computer searches to obtain information about your personal life. You can be sure that the insurance defence lawyers and the insurance adjusters on the other side are “creeping” social media and looking for your posts and photos to find any piece of evidence that they can use against you – to help their case and hurt yours.
The truth is that lawyers can be very good at taking something very innocent or irrelevant and turning or twisting it into something hurtful. In a lawsuit, context is so very important. Even an innocent post by you or about you can be taken out of context and misinterpreted (accidentally or purposely) or turned into something it is not in an effort to hurt your case. So if you are in the middle of a lawsuit, it may be helpful to keep an old expression in mind: “It’s not what it is, but what it appears to be.”
And regardless, it may be unsettling to know that strangers, including people on the other side of your case, are looking very carefully at your personal information.
As a result, if you are going to be starting a lawsuit, you may be interested in enhancing your privacy settings on your social media accounts. For instance, you may wish to adjust your profile so that only friends can see what has been posted and have access to your personal information. But keep in mind that you can still be found through friends, family and colleagues and through comments and posts you have made on other peoples’ accounts or on a business’s social media account. Also, for some accounts (e.g. Facebook), users do not have the ability to see who has viewed their profiles, individual posts or photos.
For users of Facebook, you can find details about Facebook’s privacy settings at http://www.techlicious.com/tip/complete-guide-to-facebook-privacy-settings/. Also, you can visit https://www.facebook.com/help/214376678584711 for details about how to temporarily deactivate your Facebook account.
Currently, if you deactivate your account your profile won’t be visible to other people on Facebook and people won’t be able to search for you. However, some information, such as messages you sent to friends, your name on a friend’s “friend list” and information friends post about you may still be visible to others – depending on your friends’ privacy settings.
You will want to talk to your lawyer before deciding to temporarily deactivate a social media account to make sure you are not losing potentially relevant information and evidence.
If you would like more information, do not hesitate to contact our office. Our contact information can be found at: https://www.mhalaw.ca/contact.