Web Content Authentication Begins with Rule 901
Let’s start at the very beginning. Evidence standards are set by the Authenticating Social Media Evidence: Federal Rules of Evidence 901(b)(1). Web evidence, such as social media, come under examination when they don’t meet these standards. If we use Rule 901 as a guide, social media and web evidence may be authenticated in these non-exclusive ways:
- Witness testimony. The creator of the post will be asked if they posted the post.
- Internet history. The computer may be examined for relevant internet history.
- Third-party hosting. If information was hosted by a third-party, they may need to give testimony.
- Identifying information. The style of the post may be similar enough to previous posts to implicate the author.
To read a more in-depth analysis of Rule 901, please refer to this primer on FRE 901.
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