While social networking applications like Facebook allow users to choose to only share information with specific groups such as their friends, designating information as “private” instead of public may not always protect it from disclosure in litigation.
The Nova Scotia Supreme Court said, in Conrod v. Caverley  N.S.J. No. 25, that where a person has both a private and public Facebook profile, if their public Facebook profile contains relevant evidence, the court may infer that their private Facebook profile contains similar relevant evidence. Whether a Facebook profile is relevant depends on the claims advanced by the profile’s owner. In Conrod, the court found the information in the plaintiff’s public Facebook profile did not support an inference that her private profile would contain relevant information. However, because she claimed that she had a reduced ability to concentrate due to the accident, the court ordered that she produce her Facebook usage records, which were relevant to her level of concentration. The court noted that the plaintiff could easily obtain her usage records and they would not reveal information about her other internet activity. However, a Facebook usage history may provide more information than the court in Conrod intended to make available. In particular, usage logs show posts and pictures, information which may be found on the private profile.
The bottom line: privacy may be a fleeting concept in the world of social media.
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