The Liability of Social Networking

About a decade ago an attorney friend of mine told me that you should always delete emails that are one year old. He went on to explain from a lawsuit/discovery process, these e-mails could come back to haunt you.

And I think of this statement every time someone writes me via one of the myriad social networking sites on the market. I wonder for example, is there any recourse for me if I want to permanently delete messages at a later date?

Based on the preliminary research I have done, the answer is a resounding maybe. Even some sites which allow you to delete messages still archive them and may or may not get rid of the content.

In a society where there is likely to be more and more lawsuits, I wonder what sort of disastrous mess many are getting into by communicating via sites which could in turn could be broken into or even subpoenaed at a later date. This information – as innocuous as it seems today could be used at a later date to help make a case for you to go to jail or pay a fine or whatever.

Whatever your opinion is of lawyers, the few I have had contact with over time are very smart and can take scraps of paper and combine them in a way to turn a mouse into a monster.

Giving a lawyer access to years or decades worth of your most personal conversations seems like the making for century’s worth of lawsuits where people will kick themselves for saying something that seemed innocent at the time.

If you have any thoughts on the matter – please do not use Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn to send them to me. 😉

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