Posts Tagged ‘bloomberg law reports’
Contributed by Steven W. Green, Hudson Legal
- As corporate social content increases, so will the challenges that corporate litigants face in producing and reviewing data stored with social media providers.
- The key social media challenge in electronic discovery is to collect and prepare social media content for review, production, and presentation in a way that preserves its original context and significance.
- Corporations must prepare and strategize for the discovery implications of this emerging social media world.
Corporate demand for assistance in dealing with the high costs and complexities of discovery in the digital age has given rise to an entire e-discovery industry. As business information shifted from paper documents and correspondence to stored data and electronic mail, the volume of corporations’ potential evidence rapidly increased. Tools, technologies, and methods have been, and continue to be developed to help assess the relevance of electronic data, and most advancements have been designed to grapple with enormous quantities of email.
Social media is now widely considered to be overtaking email as the primary means of electronic communication. While this appears to be the case for personal communication, it remains to be seen whether business communication will follow suit. If it does, technological and workflow approaches to each phase of the current e-discovery model will need to evolve to ensure social media content is properly preserved, collected, reviewed, and produced in satisfaction of discovery obligations.
Minimal Corporate Risk So Far
SharePoint and a number of services under the umbrella of “Enterprise 2.0” contain social-like features, but are generally controlled or hosted by the user corporation. Assume that by social content we are referring to environments such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs – areas where interaction is not restricted to a private corporate network.
There have already been a surprising number of court decisions related to discovery of social media content. However, a distinct pattern is clear: these cases deal with individual-oriented litigation such as personal injury. Where a corporation is involved, it is the party requesting social media information from an individual, usually to refute a claim about the individual’s physical condition or state of mind.
It’s unlikely that a “smoking gun” piece of evidence relevant to high-value corporate litigation will turn up in a social media posting. Corporations and their key employees generally understand social media environments to be public spaces, and are not using them to communicate company secrets. Corporate social content is typically for marketing purposes and intentionally public. While risks to corporations may be minimal now, as social media adapts to serve more business uses, it will become more relevant to e-discovery.