Social Media and Separation: Protect Your Privacy!
Social Media has become so integrated into our daily lives, that people often post and share without a second thought. We’ve grown so accustomed to sharing (and sometimes over sharing) so much so that it seems harmless, and a part of normal social interaction. However, in the context of a Mississauga family law dispute, all of the information that is posted across various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, and LinkedIn can be used against you to paint a picture about you and your life in a courtroom. It’s important to be mindful that what you post on social media can hurt you when you are going through a separation. Even if you ‘un-friend’ or block your ex, that doesn’t mean that the content that you are posting online won’t get back to them, or worse: end up in court documents.
More and more, separating spouses are using evidence they collect from social media in family law disputes as evidence of claims; using such information as proof of ‘poor parenting’, lifestyle, or poor conduct on behalf of their former partner.
With that in mind, there are ways that you can manage your use of social media to avoid potential pitfalls. Here are some tips for you to consider if you’re in the process of separating and using social media:
- Update your privacy settings from ‘public’ to ‘private’ and remove your spouse as a ‘friend’ or ‘contact’ that has access to your account on all social media sites;
- Go through your list of ‘friends’ on social media sites and be aware of who is ‘following’ you. You may want to consider unfriending mutual friends or your spouse’s relatives. Be aware of ‘new friends’ that want follow you on social media sites and think twice about who you accept.
- Watch the content posted by friends and family if they relate to you and posts that you are tagged in. It would be a good idea to ask friends and family not to include you in their social media posts or tag you in photos/videos/etc. while you are going through the separation process.
- Do not post online anything about your separation, issues you are having with your spouse or litigation. At all. Ever.
- Turn off geo-tagging features on Facebook and other social media sites which show where you are at different dates and times. If your spouse wants to stalk you, geo-tags make it very easy for them to do that.
- While it may be difficult, try to share as little as possible on social media when you’re going through a separation if you can’t go offline ‘cold turkey’.
- Make sure you change all your passwords on social media accounts.
- it would also be a good idea to take the time to change all your e-mail passwords and the email you used for the “forgot your password” feature for your e-mails/bills/banking. If you have retained a lawyer to assist you with your separation and have ‘confidential information’ being exchanged, it’s smart to create a new email for that purpose – after all, it’s harder for your spouse to hack into something they don’t know exists.
The above information is not legal advice of any kind, and you should be sure to speak to a qualified family law lawyer about your specific situation. For more information, call us at 647-499-4888 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a free 30-minute consultation with one of our experienced family law lawyers.