By now, most litigators have bumped up against at least one or two social media issues in their practices. Social media has become a hot-button discovery issue and a potential source of valuable information in cases from personal injury to employment discrimination. Often, social media discovery requests are now included as a matter of course in individual plaintiff cases. Juries are using social media to broadcast, often improperly, about their cases while lawyers scour social media during voir dire looking for juror bias. Companies now frequently use social media to vet applicants, with some even going so far as to force applicants to permit company employees to access their various social media sites.
With Facebook expected to hit the 1 billion user mark in August and more than half of Americans using at least one social media platform, the importance of social media in business and everyday life will only increase. In-house counsel have no real choice but to become familiar with the various social media platforms, the issues these platforms create for their companies, and the pitfalls and advantages they present in management and litigation.
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