Social Media Recommendations Following Self Defense Incident
Managing Social Media After A Self-defense Shooting
by Shawn Vincent
If you’ve been involved in a self-defense shooting, your social media presence may quickly become subject of intense scrutiny.
For most of us, when we post online, we are used to engaging only with a fixed circle of our own friends and acquaintances. It’s uncommon for strangers to view our profiles or engage with us online.
If you become the subject of a news article, however — which is not completely unlikely in a self-defense homicide — you can bet that reporters and investigators will be scouring your profile to find out more about you.
One of the things we stress at CCW Safe is the importance of not making detailed statements to police without the advice of a lawyer. You should assume that anything you post online (or have posted in the past) can and will be used against you in a court of law.
With that in mind, here are some rules to managing social media after a self-defense shooting:
Rule #1: Your Social Media Privileges Are Immediately Suspended
As long as you face the risk of prosecution you should immediately stop using all social media for the foreseeable future. The risk that you’ll say or post something that could get you in trouble is huge. If there is any benefit to having a social media presence during your legal defense (and sometimes there is), that effort should be carefully managed by your legal team.
Rule #2: Lockdown Your Social Media Profiles
You don’t want people to have public access to the history of your posts on social media, so you’ll need to lock it down. Each social media platform has a different process for suspending an account. We’ve listed link to instructions for the most common networks below, but don’t do it before you read Rule #3.
How to suspend your Facebook account:
How to set your LinkedIn account to “visible to no one”:
How to deactivate your Twitter account:
How to disable your Instagram account:
Rule #3: Don’t Delete Anything
If you are under investigation after a self-defense homicide, your social media accounts can be considered evidence. If you permanently delete anything, it could be considered destruction of evidence, and that could cause you real problems in your case.
If your accounts are active, law enforcement can search your public data without restrictions; if you have suspended your accounts, law enforcement will need a warrant to access them. During the discovery process of your lawyer will be able to fight for what information may be relevant, should you face prosecution.
The links we provided in Rule #2 are for suspending your accounts, not deleting them. Most social networks provide a way to download your data for preservation. It may be prudent to download your data and delete your account, but you will want to talk to your lawyer about this.
Managing Social Media as a Concealed Carrier
If you have chosen to be a concealed carrier, you have already made the decision that you are willing to use deadly force to defend yourself. It’s a serious decision and a big responsibility. Odds are, that you will never need to use your weapon in self-defense, but it is always a possibility.
As a concealed carrier, you need to manage your social media knowing your posts will be used to judge you if you ever need to use deadly force. With every post you make, you should ask yourself “How would this make me look if I were involved in a self-defense shooting?”
In fact, it’s not a bad idea to go back through your posts now, and delete anything that could be interpreted as less than flattering should you ever be scrutinized for making a life or death self-defense decision in the future.
Shawn Vincent is a litigation consultant who helps select juries in self-defense cases, and he manages public interest of high-profile legal matters. If you have any questions for Shawn, or would like more articles like this, let us know below!