Social Networking Sites Carry Ethics Traps and Reminders

By Tiffany M. WilliamsLitigation News Associate Editor, ABA– August 27, 2009

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and MySpace are among the top social media websites that have transformed electronic communications and social interactions culturally. Inevitably, these communication techniques have also affected litigation practice and are brimming with ethical traps.


A recent advisory ethics opinion in Pennsylvania is a reminder to litigators that rules of professional responsibility apply when accessing social networks. The opinion concludes that using a third party to contact a witness through a “friend request” on Facebook and using the information found in a Facebook profile in litigation is deceptive and in violation of Pennsylvania Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4.


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