Social media has become one part of the life of millions of Americans. We see Facebook, Twitter, Instagram pages everywhere. But, how will that work in court? How does a lawyer or person use that sort of evidence in court? With photos, a witness can testify about who took the picture and where the picture has been since its initial creation. The Fourth Court of Appeals adopted a similar authentication process for Facebook posts.
In Walls v. Klein, No. 04-13-00565 (Tex.App. San Antonio 7/9/2014), the lawsuit concerned invasion of privacy, breach of contract, and defamation. Klein testified that he printed off a Facebook page belonging to the other party. The Court of Appeals approved this method for authenticating the document. Mr. Klein said he printed off the page when he still had access to Ms. Walls’ Facebook page. Ms. Walls said no, he printed it off after his access had been blocked. The court noted rightly that such testimony is for cross-examination. It does not pertain to the authenticity of the document. Just like a photo, the witness can testify that he took a given picture on a given day and has retained it ever since. If a second witness wants to say the conditions were cloudy and foggy that day, such testimony applies to the accuracy of the photo, not its authenticity.
See the decision here.