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November 17, 2011

Social Media Evidence

We are now seeing several articles a day on social media evidence. Since 2010, social media evidence played a key role in 675 cases. In fact, it is predicted that social media will overtake email as the primary discovery source within the next three years.

Despite the obvious necessity for social media discovery, legal and investigative professionals have lacked a defensible process to address social media evidence in the same manner as email and edocs.

Self-collection and screen captures are the wrong approach.  This agonizing exercise can take hours to capture each available screen for a single Facebook  or Twitter account. Additionally, the Facebook feature that allows you to download an account as a PDF is also problematic because it is a form of self collection, does not capture metadata, is incomplete and difficult to authenticate.

As addressed by recent court decisions, screen captures are not best practices when establishing a proper chain of custody and seeking to properly authenticate evidence at trial. So it is not a surprise that we are seeing new companies like X1 Social Discovery gaining adoption.

Best practices requires a defensible approach for the preservation and authentication of social media i.e generating hash values for collected items, properly preserving all social metadata and documenting a proper chain of custody from collection through production.  

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