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Can oversharing on social media get you in legal trouble?

Nowadays, social media makes up a part of most people's lives, whether it is through their personal social media accounts or even simply just looking at other accounts to stay updated. Social media, by its very definition, allows users to share anything they want about their lives and opinions.

While sharing is social media's greatest asset, it is also one of its greatest hazards, especially when it comes to oversharing, or posting things that could come back to haunt you. Even though you may think your privacy settings closely protect your social media posts from unwanted viewing, you should view anything you post online as potentially public.

Oversharing on social media

Oversharing generally means sharing too much or more than you normally would with the general public. Think about something that you would only confide in a close, trusted personal friend and you have a good example of something that may fall into the category of oversharing. While this type of social media posting is not necessarily risky in and of itself, the context in which you share and the exact content of what you share online can create legal trouble for you. The most straightforward example of this is if you post something online that depicts you taking part in a crime. Such a post can open you up to criminal charges, despite the fact that you may have intended the post as a parody or joke.

Social media usage during criminal proceedings

Another area to be particularly careful about is your social media and online use after police have charged you with a crime. Once you are the subject of criminal charges, all your behavior will come under intense scrutiny from prosecutors. This particularly applies to your online postings both before and after your arrest. If you made statements indicating your innocence, but prosecutors turn up online evidence to the contrary, this will inevitably hurt your case. The best policy is to avoid social media usage as you go through your criminal proceedings. When the stakes are high and your future is at risk, it is better to err on the side of caution.

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