Florida Professional Ethics Committee: Social Media Advice to Clients–A Matter of Competence

On June 25th, The Florida Professional Ethics Committee affirmed, with some modifications, its January proposed opinion regarding advising a client about removing social media posts prior to litigation and changing privacy settings.  Florida joins several other states in addressing the issue of social media posts that are potential evidence in reasonably forseeable litigation.

Two of the key take aways from the opinion:

“The committee is of the opinion that the general obligation of competence may require [an attorney] to advise the client regarding removal of relevant information from the client’s social  media pages, including whether removal would violate any legal duties regarding preservation of 109 evidence, regardless of the privacy settings.”

An attorney, “may advise that a client change privacy settings on the client’s  social media pages so that they are not publicly accessible. Provided that there is no violation of the rules or substantive law pertaining to the preservation and/or spoliation of evidence, the [attorney] also may advise that a client remove information relevant to the foreseeable proceeding  from social media pages as long as the social media information or data is preserved.”

To read the opinion, click here.

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