Vast amounts of personal information is placed on social media profiles and websites daily; as a result many attorneys are avidly seeking to use the material as evidence—“It’s one thing to make a fool of yourself in public, but some folks seem to excel at stupidity in front of the entire world.” Millions of Americans spend an enormous amount of time on social media interacting with family, friends, and rekindling past relationships; a danger in posting information to these sites is that the information may be used in court due to the scope of electronic discovery (“e-discovery”).
Although not all states have enacted specific e-discovery rules, the effect of e-discovery is drastic due to the abundance of easily accessible information. As the intricacies of electronically stored information (“ESI”) grow because of developments in technology, the need for efficient discovery management grows as well. “Even without having to worry about social media, preservation of electronic information is fraught with danger.” In January 2014, Massachusetts amended its Rules of Civil Procedure to include e-discovery rules. From an efficiency standpoint, amendments should be made to specifically address issues with social media and the authentication of electronic information.
Part I of this Note discusses the differences between traditional discovery and e-discovery. Part II argues that the recently enacted Massachusetts e-discovery rules will be more efficient than the Federal e-discovery rules. Parts III and IV argue that amendments must be made to the Massachusetts rules addressing social media and authentication issues. These Parts further propose standards for such amendments.