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Understanding FRE 902(14) and Social Media Investigations

April 30, 2020

Your case hinges on evidence. These days, social media evidence is a critical part of many cases. From Facebook posts to tweets, social media can have a significant impact on a trial. As such, law firms and insurance companies often turn to social media investigation teams. These professionals help to uncover valuable evidence. This evidence can be invaluable during negotiation and litigation. At Bosco Legal Services, Inc., we help clients gather social media evidence for their cases. This involves experience, time and considerable knowledge of the Federal Rules of Evidence (FRE). One of these rules is FRE 902(14). FRE 902(14) is relevant specifically to social media and internet evidence. 

Understanding FRE 902(14)

FRE 902(14) establishes rules for electronic data recovered by digital identification. Any electronic data submitted as evidence must be self-authenticating. This means that the testimony of a technical expert should not be necessary if the evidence is preserved and presented properly. Instead, the courts accept the authentication of social media evidence by digital identification. 

In general, FRE 902(14) allows the self-authentication of social media evidence if all three elements are present:

  • Copies obtained through a digital identification process
  • A qualified person submits written certification about the digital identification process
  • Reasonable notice of use given to the opponent

The Federal Rules of Evidence are specific. FRE 902(14) provides clear and precise steps to determine the admissibility of social media evidence. Failure to gather social media evidence correctly may damage your case. If not properly authenticated, the courts may find your evidence inadmissible. 

Are There Any Limitations to FRE 902(14)?

FRE 902(14) does have limitations. It does not address the accuracy, relevance or ownership of social media evidence. It also does not overcome objections based on hearsay. It cannot prove the substance written on the web page, merely that the web page is what it says it is. For example, written certification may establish a social media post as the defendant’s post. But, it cannot prove that the post is true or accurate. These limitations, however, can be addressed with a thorough investigation done by an expert investigator.

Our Social Media Investigators Can Help 

For decades, Bosco Legal Services has provided valuable investigation services to law firms and insurance companies throughout California and the United States. We know how important social media investigations are to a case. We can help you authenticate evidence properly and build a solid case. We even have the ability to gather data on someone with no known social media accounts. Our team of investigators uses the most current software and discovery practices. 

Call our Riverside office today at (877) 353-8281 to discuss your situation. You can also fill out our online contact form, and someone from our office will be in touch with you soon.