Jul 18, 2011

Law 101: Twitter and Facebook Messages As Evidences In Court

So time for the very first feature on Law 101 that we, the people in the social multiverse could relate like Twitter, Facebook among other social networking site to have and will ever exist, can users be civilly or criminally liable for the messages we create or post on these sites?

Have you remember the libel case filed by Bulacan Mayor Patrick Menesis against Philippine actress and former Quezon City councilor Aiko Melendez? Its currently on going with Twitter messages as the basis of such case. Interesting isn't it? Well read on to find out.

Under the Bill of Rights, Article 3, Section 3 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribe by law. Any evidence obtained of this or the preceding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding.

I know its quite bloody to understand as the article is subject to different interpretation but it simply says that communication between two person or group of people should be private and it should not be use as evidence in court.

But lets dig in dipper to the case, Twitter and Facebook have feature called Timeline for Twitter and Wall for Facebook which allows users to post one for the social network community to read, and it also have private messages which is only intended to the people you communicated with. If users posted on the Timeline or on the Facebook wall, then it could be subject to libel, if its on the messaging feature then its not.

As I've learn, what happened to the Melendez case was that the evidence gathered was the messaging feature of Twitter, a communication between two people, meaning it was intended to certain person or someone and not for public consumption, so she is not liable.

But then, the lawyers of the Bulacan Mayor pursue the case , meaning they have found something that will merit such act and that I cannot assist at the moment having been initially immersed to the complicated world of Philippine Laws. Lets lets found out how the case progress, stay tuned!

Last and favorable shout out to everyone, be mindful and responsible to the stuffs you posts on Twitter or Facebook! It might get back to you unexpectedly.


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