As the below DOMO infographic suggests, people are reliant upon the worldwide web at activity levels that are difficult to comprehend. Consider, for example, that people send 16 million text messages every minute! Or that 2.4 million snaps are sent every 60 seconds! Or, that the internet reaches approximately 5 billion people (i.e., 63% of the world’s population) of which 93% use social media. And, each year the frequency with which people turn to the web for such things increases. A quick comparison of the number of Google queries in 2013 (2M/minute) with those in 2022 (5.9M/minute) demonstrates clearly the rate of this growth.
The reality is that many people rely on the internet for all sorts of reasons – social connection, communicating, dating, peer-to-peer payments, bill payments, entertainment, employment, groceries, gaming, shopping, etc. A reliance that seemingly grew during the pandemic as people were working remotely and socially distancing. But why do we as attorneys or compliance officers care about the growth of the internet and social media? What the infographic tells us is that people are putting potential responsive information not only in emails but also in social media posts, text messages, temporary chats, and countless other internet-based platforms, which means other repositories of facts to support or challenge a party’s claims or defenses in a lawsuit. As a result, therefore, when drafting a preservation notice or document demand, for example, it should be determined early on whether social media records could be relevant to the litigation and, if so, how to preserve that data. Note that not all social media platforms are created equal, and different approaches may be necessary to secure potential evidence. For example, some social media platforms preserve all content, whereas others are designed to be only temporary custodians, as the content disappears after it is viewed.
The internet and social media has forever changed the litigation landscape, and because of our ethical obligation as attorneys to possess technological competence handling e-discovery, we must understand what each platform offers and how content can be preserved.
Source: SocialMediaToday.com, “What Happens on the Internet Every Minute (2022 Version) [Infographic],” Sept. 21, 2022.