I often talk about how you shouldn’t believe everything you read.  That’s not just confined to newspapers, but what the other side say to you too.  Just because they tell you that you’ve got a bad claim doesn’t mean they’re right.

However, you might think that this doesn’t apply to social media, such as posts on Facebook where people tell you what a great holiday they are having.  Those posts can often come back to bite them on their tanned behinds if they make a claim against the travel company.  You can’t on the one hand say that you had an awful experience with terrible food poisoning if you’re then putting pictures up on your social media pages showing images of you and your mates drinking, partying and generally having a good time.

You might also think that it’s perfectly safe to make a decision on whether to hire or fire someone, based on what they post on Facebook.   Simply because they post a few pictures of them drinking, does that mean they have a drinking problem or does that mean that they are showing off to their friends and actually they’ve spent the evening at home watching tv and want to pretend they actually have a life!

We all know that people exaggerate on social media and paint a rosey picture, so how can you decide what’s true and what’s just for effect.

In a recent damages claim bought by a woman who said she had been significantly injured, the Defendant’s lawyers made big play out of what the woman had posted on Facebook about her seemingly happy life.  The Judge, however, didn’t take that at face value, and was happy to dig deeper into the woman’s life, eventually ruling that the posts were simply her trying to make things look much better than they were.  You could say that this means that a woman who was found to have lied on social media was still awarded a 7 figure sum (when the Defendants had started with a 4 figure offer!) but I suspect it actually means that in many cases, there isn’t just one piece of evidence that is significant, and you have to take everything into account before you can reach a conclusion.  That includes accepting that you can’t believe everything you read (as the Judge accepted) and you shouldn’t believe everything you read (as the Defendant’s solicitors should have realised).

So be careful what you put on social media, you don’t know what trouble it might cause you in the future, but equally, don’t take everything you read on social media as true or even completely true.  If in doubt, ask.  If you think that what you’ve read about someone might be true, but might not, you probably have nothing to lose by putting it to them and asking for their comments.

Or put another way – I heard what you wrote but did you listen to what I thought?

Kleyman & Co Solicitors.  We hear, see, read and (most importantly) understand!