Ziff Law Attorney Mike Brown was in a mediation hearing recently where an insurance company accessed his client’s wife’s Facebook page to develop ammunition to hurt her husband’s injury case. Unfortunately, her privacy settings were all set to Public.
Insurance companies use many different tactics in their attempts to avoid making fair settlements, so we were not surprised by this. But let this be a lesson to anyone on Facebook.
I tell my clients to set their privacy settings to Private, but still assume that EVERYTHING that is posted on their Facebook page, and the pages of their spouses, families, and friends, is likely to be discovered by insurance company investigators who often employ shady, arguably illegal, methods to find something bad they can use against you.
So this is our best advice, regardless of whether you are a Ziff Law client:
Post nothing to social media about yourself and ask your family and friends to please not mention you in their posts or repost any of your private posts.
Here are 10 tips that we share with our clients to help protect their privacy from insurance companies and others who snoop on social media. We share these tips today because they apply to all Facebook users:
- Make sure only your Facebook friends can see what you post: Set your privacy settings to private, not public. Facebook has a five-minute Privacy Checkup feature worth a look.
- Delete any personal information in your profile.
- Don’t share anything about your personal life or your family’s personal life.
- Trim your friends list to people you trust not to share any content publicly.
- Don’t repost other people’s posts and use care in making public comments on other people’s posts.
- Be careful in what pages and people you follow. Insurance companies love to dig for dirt with those people and organizations you follow.
- Turn off the facial recognition feature Facebook uses to tag your photos.
- Limit the data that Facebook’s partners collect about you. It’s amazing what they know about you.
- Don’t use Messenger for texting because it’s not a secure form of messaging.
- In recent years, millions of people have quit Facebook, or rarely use it anymore, out of privacy and other concerns. Is it time to scale back your Facebook use, or shut down your Facebook account?
To learn more about how to change your Facebook settings, go here.
We recommend you consider what you share on all social media, including Twitter and Instagram. Potential employers – and many others – check out social media accounts.
Every time you think about posting on any social media platform, remember: your words and images will be out there forever and can potentially reach far beyond your intended targets.
Nothing is truly private in social media.
Thanks for reading,
Best Lawyers’ “2015 & 2017 & 2019 Lawyer of the Year”