Majority of divorces now using Facebook evidence
Online reputation becomes an issue as couples fall out
Over 80% of lawyers turn to social media to find evidence in divorce cases in order to find evidence of infidelity and other behaviour that might settle custody battles or financial issues.
Two-thirds of evidence gleaned from social media is related to Facebook, where individuals are more likely to flirt and unwittingly leave a trail for technology-savvy lawyers to find.
According to Internet reputation company GotJuice.co.uk, many people are careless on social media websites, not realising how public their postings might be.
"Many users aren't entirely familiar with their privacy settings, and that's a recipe for disaster," said GotJuice.co.uk 's Mark Hall, "When they think they're having a private conversation, they could be broadcasting it to others.
"Uploading compromising photographs is also hugely dangerous", said Hall. "Evidence of infidelity, drunkenness, drug-taking and other anti-social or illegal activity is routinely posted on Facebook without a care for who might see them in future," said Hall.
Evidence from social media that has been used in divorce cases has included:
- Inappropriate messages to the opposite sex
- Friends reporting a husband or wife's activities
- Both parties involved in internet arguments
- Compromising photographs
- Location-based services destroying an alibi or proving infidelity
"Even if the posts are deleted, that might not be enough," said GotJuice.co.uk 's Mark Hall, "Cached data means that what's posted on the internet could be forever."
GotJuice.co.uk says people can protect themselves from domestic, legal and work-related problems by taking a few simple steps.
- Think before you hit the "publish" button - one unguarded comment could lead to a lifetime of regret
- Keep friends, family, workmates and other social groups separate on social media sites - what you say to friends could easily be seen by a boss or taken badly by a relatively
- Switch off location services. It may sound furtive, but you don't have to say where you are every minute of the day
"It's very simple to avoid divorce by social media," said Hall, "and that's to think of everything you post as a public broadcast.
"Is it really worth putting your entire private life on the net?"