Commercial Litigation and Arbitration

Facebook — Authentication of Page and Attribution to Specific Person

In the Interest of LP, a Child, 2013 Ga. App. LEXIS 798 (Ga. App. Oct. 2, 2013):

Using L. P.'s known street name, "Alley for Real," Lieutenant Richardson found a user profile on Facebook that used the identity "Alley for Real," listed a birth month and day that matched L. P.'s, and included pictures of L. P. The Facebook page also contained comments about freeing the user's brother, and at the time of the posts, L. P.'s brother was incarcerated. The Facebook page contained profile pictures of L. P. making gang signs and had the phrases "AMB" and "Blood killers" edited onto some pictures.

Following the bench trial, the juvenile court judge found that sufficient evidence supported all the charges against L. P. and adjudicated him delinquent.***

Here, prior to the entry of the Facebook profile page into evidence, the detective testified that he was familiar with L. P.'s street name, "Alley for Real." The detective accessed Facebook on his [LP’s] computer, conducted a search for "Alley For Real," and printed the documents from his printer while observing the Facebook profile page for "Alley Forreal." The detective testified that the printouts fairly and accurately depicted what he observed on his computer screen. The detective, who had previously interviewed L. P., identified L. P. in pictures posted on the Facebook page, and testified that the biographical information listed on Facebook, such as day and month of birth, matched L. P.'s.

Based on this evidence, the trial court was authorized to conclude that the State sufficiently authenticated the printouts as accurately reflecting the content of the Facebook page, and that the material was posted by L. P.

See Burgess, supra, 292 Ga. at 823-824 (4) (screen shot from My space website was sufficiently authenticated where profile page belonged to a person who went by defendant's nickname, listed biographical information matching that of defendant, and contained images that were of the defendant); Smoot, supra, 316 Ga. App. at 105, 110 (4) (a) (printouts from website accurately and fairly represented website actually viewed, and circumstantial evidence linked the website to the defendant where defendant's business card listed the website's address, the website had images of the defendant using the name "Gold," and the website had the statement "Created by Gold"). Whether the subject Facebook page actually belonged to L. P. was an issue affecting the weight of the evidence, not its admissibility, and was ultimately an issue for the jury to decide. See Brown v. State, 291 Ga. 892, 897 (3) (734 SE2d 23) (2012); Clark v. State, 283 Ga. App. 884, 887 (2) (642 SE2d 900) (2007). Consequently, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion when it admitted the printout of the Facebook profile page into evidence. See id.



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