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Pennsylvania residents may find it surprising to learn that their communications with family and friends over social media may not be private. 

Forbes explains how social media may become public and work against you in a court case. 

How may social media harm your case in a personal injury lawsuit? 

You should never assume that your social media or other online posts are confidential. Parties in a lawsuit may use photos and communications from social media sites as evidence against you in a lawsuit. This may be true whether your posts and messages are public or private. For example, a court in a personal injury case learned a plaintiff’s Facebook account had photos that undermined her claim, and it demanded her login credentials. 

Can you maintain privacy by deleting posts? 

Evidentiary rules dictate what information, including social media posts, may be subject to discovery and admissible in court. These rules demand that you not delete information you have posted online. You may adjust your privacy settings, but a court would frown on any attempts to erase information. 

Even if you were to try to remove information, encryption technology may recover content you think you permanently deleted. You may also find yourself served with a demand to provide your account passwords. 

How can you minimize risks of disclosure in a lawsuit?               

You want to avoid conduct that gives hackers or others the right to spy on you. Exercise caution when you download apps or click on links sent to you over social media. You should also think twice before you respond to messages from people you do not know. A good VPN service may help protect confidentiality. 

Above all, be careful that you do not use social media to share any information that might prove embarrassing or awkward if made public.