I just read a recent article about how to better understand social media evidence. While the article is a bit dry (it’s focused on things like reading the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy), there is one important thing you should focus on when it comes to social media evidence: the more you personally use social media, the easier it is going to be to find ways to introduce it as evidence in court.

That’s why we strongly encourage you to create your own accounts on these social media platforms and try them out for yourself. While Facebook catches quite a bit of heat for their confusing privacy options and settings, that information alone tells you that there are quite a few ways information can be shared on this platform. Tuned-in users can selectively choose who can see certain bits of information (like pictures) and choose to share them with either a small social circle or everyone who is their “friend.”

Other social media platforms have other uses and target demographics as well, and it’s important to look at how information is shared by users. While tools like Facebook and email may be popular among my demographic, others may be more likely to use platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, or a host of messaging and sharing applications. Often, figuring out how these work is simply a matter of signing up on a website and possibly installing an app on your smartphone.

But how to introduce the user-generated data that is contained within these tools as evidence? The unfortunate answer is that it depends on the circumstances. Snapchat, which is a tool which can be used to send messages that can be deleted as soon as the recipient sees them, was recently discovered to have a flaw which allowed supposedly deleted messages to be retrieved. The same security hole was used to exploit Facebook Poke, a similar service being offered by Facebook.

The proliferation of these tools makes it easier than ever for intellectual property theft to occur. What happens when a disgruntled employee posts sensitive data to a social media platform? It never hurts to have a plan in place to deal with these kinds of events – it’s a step every company needs to take in order to better protect their assets.