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Todd Heffner of Jones Walker. (Courtesy photo) Todd Heffner of Jones Walker. (Courtesy photo)

“Social media information is treated just as any other type of information would be in the discovery process.” Locke v. Swift Transportation Co. of Arizona, LLC, No. 518CV00119T, 2019 WL 430930, (W.D. Ky. Feb. 4, 2019). Seems simple enough, yet the idea of social media discovery still seems to frighten most litigators.

Let’s take a step back for a moment and consider email, which is now commonplace in discovery. For email to be part of discovery, it needs to be nonprivileged, “relevant … and proportional to the needs of the case.” Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 26(b)(1). Does including email in discovery frighten most litigators? No. Do most litigators actually know the technical details of collecting and producing email? No. So while it would be helpful to understand the technical details of collecting data from various social media platforms (discussed briefly below), what’s more important is understanding social media on a more basic level: how a particular social media platform has nonprivileged, relevant and proportional information for a particular dispute. That’s what we’ll focus on with this article: what parts of social media might be relevant to a dispute and what that means for both the requesting and producing parties.

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