WACO, Texas (FOX 44) — Have you ever wondered how private your messages are? Not just your texts but also your Facebook messages and Instagram DM’s.
“You are in someone else’s playground and they get to make the rules,” Social Media Expert Caryn Brown said. “And what you need to remember, too, is that they get to change those rules as well. And sometimes they do.”
Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Almost every social media platform has a messaging center where users can connect and talk with others.
But, when it comes to the privacy of those messages, there could be a chance others will see what you wrote thanks to the terms and conditions.
“Talk about it being your private information, but your private information is in their sandbox and on their playground,” Brown told FOX 44 News. “And so, again, they get to control the rules. Some somebody at Facebook is going to go to jail over keeping your DM’s private when it comes to law enforcement, when it comes to what’s legally their responsibility. They’re going to follow it.”
Now what happens if you are caught up in an investigation? Woodway Assistant Chief Khalil El-Halabi says there is a process police must take to acquire information on someone’s phone or social media platforms.
“If it’s involving criminal cases, which is what we deal with, then we have to get a search warrant,” he said. “We have to show probable cause that that we believe there is important information on that phone or on that computer, whether it’s text messages, whether it’s pictures or anything like that that we feel will assist our case.”
El-Halabi explained that the need of evidence in a case will overpower your right to privacy.
But law enforcement officers must stick to what parts of someone’s phone or social media they search that are outlined in that search warrant.
“So whatever we feel is is prerogative to our investigation,” he explained. “We have to tell the judge, this is what we’re going for, pictures or specific text messages. And that’s usually the scope that we that we stay in.”