In the April 12, 2018 edition of The Legal Intelligencer, Edward Kang, Managing Member of Kang Haggerty, writes Court Provides Guidance on the Authentication of Social Media Posts, Or Does It?
Facebook has been making headlines lately over claims it shared personal data on more than 87 million people to the political data firm, Cambridge Analytica for use in the 2016 presidential election. In the midst of the Cambridge Analytica chaos, the Pennsylvania Superior Court provided long-overdue guidance on the authentication of posts from Facebook and other social media platforms. In the criminal case of Commonwealth v. Mangel, 2018 PA Super 57 (Mar. 15, 2018), a case of first impression in Pennsylvania, the Superior Court held that Facebook posts are not admissible without evidence, whether direct or circumstantial, substantiating the authorship of the messages, see Daniel E. Cummins, “Authentication in the Digital Age: In Recent Cases, Old and New Collide,” The Legal Intelligencer, April 5, 2018, and Zack Needles’ “Superior Court Adopts Standard for Authenticating Social Media Posts,” The Legal Intelligencer, March 21, 2018, for excellent discussions on the Mangel case.