Nothing that you post on the Internet is ever really gone. Even things that are deleted can often be recovered.
For instance, say that you make a post on someone’s social media profile, threatening them. They could take a screenshot of it, which they will then have forever. Even if you delete the post, the screenshot still shows what you wrote initially. Additionally, there are Internet tools like the Wayback Machine that can show archived websites, even after they have been changed or deleted.
This is important to note because posts made on social media may be entered as evidence in a criminal case. This can include public posts that are visible to everyone, restricted posts that have a limited audience or even private messages between two individuals.
How this could get problematic in the future
Social media is just a form of communication, so it makes sense that posts could be used as evidence, just like phone records or text messages.
But one potential problem that is coming in the future – and that could already exist, to some extent – is that this type of evidence is becoming easier to fake. People can often manipulate photos using editing tools and software. Artificial intelligence has taken massive leaps in the last year. So, while social media content can be used as evidence, it is very important to determine that the evidence is actually authentic.
Criminal cases can get complex, and the complexity is only going to increase as technology improves. Those who are facing charges need to be aware of their criminal defense options at this time.