Facebook evidence to be preserved for civil proceedings



Abuse News

Facebook evidence to be preserved for civil proceedings

The issue of abuse and how it relates to our everyday lives was
again highlighted in a new ruling in the High Court in Northern
Ireland.  An unidentified woman has succeeded in obtaining an order
against Facebook which requires them to freeze access to accounts held
by two individuals. This comes in parallel proceedings to a claim by the
lady against the individuals for damages for breach of privacy.  This
order bans the users from accessing or altering their accounts in any
way.

The lady had sent a “highly sexualised” picture to her
former partner and this photo was posted online. The court accepted that
the pages relating to the two individuals should be frozen to protect
against any interference in the evidence and to compare against the
explanations given for the picture appearing on their “pages”.  Mr
Justice Stephens said “The information contained on those accounts
will be vitally important in analysing whether their explanations as to
publication of the photograph are correct
”.

All parties have been given anonymity in the action and the connected
case against Facebook Ireland Ltd for undermining the plaintiff’s
independence and dignity.

The fields of media, social media, right to privacy and the field of
abuse and claims related to abuse are coming ever closer with courts
being more aware of the uses of social media and how the digital
fingerprints of sites and the content of sites can influence the
evidence before them.

Organisations and individuals need to be alert to anything they post
on line as well as anything or anyone with which their online presence
is associated.  An order freezing your account could be damaging to
reputation as well as to your business


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Written by Fintan Canavan, partner

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