Experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys

Are social media messages actually private?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2024 | CRIMINAL DEFENSE - White Collar Crimes

When you send messages through social media, you typically have a few options. You can send public messages, which anyone can read if they view the proper accounts. You can also send private messages, which are only visible to the recipient and you. An example of this is sending messages on Facebook Messenger.

If you send public messages, you need to do so with the idea that anyone may read them at some point, but you likely assume this will never happen with your private messages. But is that actually true? For instance, if you’re facing criminal charges, would it be possible for the police to read the private messages you sent to another user?

They need consent or a warrant

In most cases, the police do have options to get this type of evidence, but it’s not provided to them automatically. It is similar to performing a search. The police either need to get your consent or they need to get a search warrant saying that they can look at the information on your device.

Another potential option that they sometimes use is to get a warrant for the company that is in charge of the social media account you were using. An example of this is when Facebook was served with a warrant and decided to turn over the records of private messages to the authorities.

Exploring your defense options

There are many different ways that the police will try to gather evidence during a criminal case. Throughout this process, it’s very important for you to understand all of your legal defense options.