17 Aug Do the Police Need a Search Warrant for my Social Media?
Social media has aided the police in making arrests. Do not put yourself in a position to be one of these people. You could post something where you think, “I can’t get in trouble for posting this.” You could have posted a photo of you staring at a breathtaking view, but to get to that view, you had to trespass onto private property. Posting this photo may not resonate as a risk to you because so many people before you have done it. Plus, the police have more pressing matters to attend to, right?
Believe it or not, the police are growing departments that are dedicated to filtering through social media.
Yes, they are looking for content like threats or evidence for an existing case, but they may happen upon an otherwise harmless post, like your beautiful Instagram photo, and they can take this up with you.
Additionally, you may never know what the public will say. Your content can go viral enough where the police feel the need to intervene and address the matter.
You may not have done any harm and you may not be a threat to other people, but trespassing is illegal and it most definitely can get you into some form of legal trouble. That is why we are telling you to always be mindful about what you post on social media.
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Police Rely on Social Media
You know that the police are looking at social media when they are investigating cases. What you may not know is whether they are allowed to do this with or without your consent or a warrant.
So, here is what you should know:
- Content posted on public sites and accounts are considered evidence “in plain view” because anyone who has Internet access and access to sites like Facebook can see it. There are no viewing restrictions so the police are free to scour this without a warrant.
- When content is posted on a private account, like a private Facebook account that is only viewable to the user and his or her Facebook friends, then the police need a search warrant to gain viewing access.
Just like it is advisable to use discretion when posting content on social media because a person is weary about employers seeing it, it is advisable to use discretion so that it never lands you in legal trouble with the law. Social media has aided the police in many cases, do not let that be the case for you.