Looking for ways to connect in the “new normal” world of COVID-19 and social distancing, Americans are spending more time online. Recent data from Kantar suggests there has been a 61% increase in social media engagement and a 37% increase in overall Facebook usage; and consumer research data published by IZEA Worldwide indicates two-thirds of those surveyed believed their social media usage would increase if they were confined to their homes. With more internet use, particularly given additional free time, chances are plaintiffs are increasing their use of social media. Defense strategies can benefit significantly from social media research—how and why does increased social media usage matter for litigation?

Publicly available social media profiles routinely offer case-relevant information on plaintiffs. What are their preferences and everyday activities? Who do they associate with? The answers to these questions can often be found on social media. Given their potentially limited in-person interactions with others at this time due to social distancing, plaintiffs may be posting online with more frequency, and those with no prior online presence may feel compelled to start a Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or other type of social media profile.

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