Facebook – Only Half the Picture

At the end of March 2012, there were over 900 million active Facebook users. 300 million photos are added to Facebook every day.

From family vacations, outings with friends, or just things you find interesting, Facebook is a great place to share your life. It is easy to upload and tag photos from anywhere.

These photos are private, right? Not necessarily. Even the privacy setting won’t always protect you when it comes to the law. Tamara, a recent law school graduate, has been ordered by the British Columbia Supreme Court to disclose her private Facebook photos that might be relevant to her lawsuit.

In November 2008, Tamara was rear-ended by the defendant in the lawsuit. Injuries from her accident include severe headaches along with back and neck pain. She says that her injuries continue to affect her academically, socially, and physically.

But according to The Province, the defendant’s lawyer says photos published on Tamara’s Facebook page tell a different story. He applies to court for a complete copy of Tamara’s Facebook profile, including all photographs and information, such as dates and comments. The court says the plaintiff’s pictures of her involvement in sports or recreational activities since the accident must be disclosed.

But in many cases, Facebook photos do not paint an accurate picture. Why? Because people tend to post “feel good” photos. People don’t usually share photos of bad days when they are suffering from headaches, neck pain, or back pain.

Public forms of sharing can be exciting, but it can be tricky to tell an accurate story of your life. It is important to realize that these legal situations happen. It is also a good idea to check your privacy settings and make sure you know who has access to your posts. Private doesn’t always mean what you think.

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James Richards
James Richards is a born and raised Vancouverite who studied History, Political Science and Law at University of British Columbia. His over 20 years of legal practice and a busy and active family gives him his purpose, focus and some good writing material. When not in work–mode, he enjoys any excuse to be out and about our amazing city.