If you have read the news recently, you probably noticed that social media has come under fire for a couple of things.  First, social media outlets have been accused of creating fake news.  Second,  Facebook has been accused of allowing hackers to integrate its system for the purpose of promoting a specific political agenda.  While all of these investigations were in the works, it was becoming apparent that Facebook was not adhering to privacy standards regarding users data.  In fact, just this month Facebook admitted to logging text messages and phone calls without notifying users.  How could they do that? Facebook Messenger.  Messenger has become a number one method for communicating on social media.  This holds true even through our major life events.  So, how do we protect our privacy while communicating on social media during divorce?

It is estimated that as high as 80% of Americans use social media.  Some people spend most of their day chatting on Facebook or Facebook Messenger.  Some people tell everything on Facebook.  Messenger allows photos, videos, phone calls, texts, you name it.  Have you ever considered where that data is stored? Have you ever thought about the people who work on the servers for Facebook who have access to that data?

All applications of this magnitude do have some security.  Unfortunately, we take that for granted when we put our information there.  We blindly trust those who are managing the data.  We trust that they are using proper security settings to protect our data from theft.  We trust that they are not inappropriately accessing and reading our data.  We trust that they are keeping the systems updated.

This article is not meant to make anyone paranoid.  Technology is a beautiful thing when it’s used properly and in the right hands.  So, with all of the privacy concerns, how do you continue to use technology to facilitate communicating on social media during divorce?

  • No Public Posts – Do not discuss the Court process, or any hearings in particular or make negative public posts about your divorce or your soon to be ex on social media.  These can be used against you, especially if you are in the middle of a custody battle for your children.  This also goes for chatting about, announcing or talking to a new love in your life before you have finalized your divorce.
  • No Sexting – Despite how private Facebook Messenger and your phone texting may appear, remember that there is always a computer collecting those images on the other end and someone is managing that data.  You do not know where it is stored, how long it is stored and who may be looking at the texts or images.  In spite of perceived privacy, these types of texts can suddenly show up in court on the day of your divorce hearing (amongst other places).  It’s simply not worth the chance.
  • Know Who You Are Texting – There are a lot of scams online and Facebook Messenger is no exception.  If you receive a message from someone you do not normally communicate with online, or from someone you know that seems to be communicating “differently,” you may want to reach out to that person another way.  Many scammers use Messenger to take advantage of people for a variety of things such as “get rich quick” schemes and more.
  • Keep It Short – When you text, keep it short rather than providing a lot of detail.  Try to vent by phone, if possible, or talk to friends in person when you see them.  If you do need to write rather than talk on the phone, consider using email.
  • Know Who Your Children Are Writing – There is no way to write an article about any social media without including this warning.  Not a day goes by that we don’t see an article or news flash about a child who was approached by some form of an online predator.  For more information about ways you can help your child stay safe, check out our series starting with Part I. , continuing with Parts II and Parts III.

The main thing to remember when you are communicating during your divorce is that you never want to write anything that can be used against you during a court proceeding.  You may think that what you are saying is absolutely true, that you are not being biased, that you aren’t saying anything wrong, but you might be mistaken.  That, or your words might be taken out of context.  That includes a deposition or mediation or even a sit down discussion with your own attorney.  It’s much harder for your attorney to work on your behalf if there are negative things out there in the “public” that she needs to fight. Take that out of the equation and don’t allow the opposing party to even argue it by cutting down and tailoring your use of social media.

Are you in a situation that needs some legal guidance? Contact me here so we can discuss.