The question relates to the discoverability of social media information and whether having something on a ‘private’ page makes any difference. Case law has dealt with this too. My own summary is that any document relevant to civil litigation has to be disclosed by a party, wherever it is and however private it is. However, the opposing party will not be given free access to fish among private documents on mere speculation that there is something relevant there.
Once lawyers know this (and presumably most litigation lawyers now do), can they advise their clients to move stuff to private sections of their social media accounts to keep investigators and opposing parties from finding it outside the discovery process? May they advise clients not to post some kinds of stuff at all?
A New York County bar opinion and an Oregon state bar association say Yes on both counts. But an article commenting on them refers to a couple of cases where lawyers and parties got into trouble for advice on this kind of thing.
What would a prudent Canadian lawyer be allowed to do? Can a lawyer ever advise a client to delete material altogether, as distinct from moving it out of sight of public visitors?
It seems to me that deleting something from social media would be OK so long as the documents themselves (which may be pictures) are not destroyed, so that if there is a duty to disclose them, the party has not prevented him/herself from doing so.