Massachusetts Court Disallows Admission of Facebook Screenshot as Evidence

Next Gen eDiscovery Law & Tech Blog

by John Patzakis

Law Journal for webIn yet another ruling highlighting the reckless practice of relying on mere screenshots to present social media evidence, a Massachusetts Appellate Court ruled a Facebook post submitted by the prosecution in a recent criminal case to be inadmissible as evidence. In Commonwealth v. Banas, 2014 WL 1096140 (March 21, 2014), the State introduced the Facebook post in the form of a printout of a screenshot without any additional circumstantial evidence to establish authenticity. The court explained that further information beyond the screenshot itself was required to establish a proper foundation for the Facebook post.

The court followed the case of Commonwealth v. Purdy, 459 Mass. 442, 447 (2011), which held that “evidence that . . . originates from an e-mail or a social networking Web site such as Facebook or MySpace that bears the defendant’s name is not sufficient alone to authenticate the electronic communication as…

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