Facebook’s Archive Feature & What Can Be Done if the Account’s Been Closed

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What is an Archive feature?

Archive feature is a way to store your information without deleting it, you are simply placing it in a different folder that you can access with a few simple steps.

Archiving a conversation is hiding it from your inbox, deleting a conversation permanently removes the massage history from your inbox which is not recoverable.

How can information be obtained if the account has been archived or closed

Removed content is not actually deleted by Facebook

Closed account = deactivated account:
You can deactivate an account at any time, however, people won’t be able to see your timeline or search for you, yet, some messages remain visible (such as messages you sent). A user can reactivate the account at anytime by logging back into Facebook, and regain full access with the account intact and all its content.

Deleted account:
There is no way to regain access once the account is deleted

Facebook delays deletion of an account for a few days after the request is made which will be canceled if the user logs back into the account during this time.

It could take up to 90 days to delete data in the backup systems but the information is not accessible on Facebook during this time.

Copies of some materials such as log records may remain in Facebook’s database but are disassociated from personal identifiers.

Using Friending/Following to Obtain Info

What is permitted and what is not

Social media websites are a valuable source of information for attorneys who wish to acquire damaging information to use against their opponents in lawsuits and other legal proceedings.

However, an attorney conducting a social media investigation is prohibited to use deception, dishonesty and misrepresentation to gain access to a person’s private information, whether attempting such access personally or through another person.

In respect to a represented party, witness or jurors (prospective or seated), attorneys may never contact such person. In regards to jurors, a friend request qualifies as communication even from an attorney’s real profile.

Who is allowed to friend someone – the role of investigators

Persons involved in the legal system are bound by much more vigorous rules and requirements than everyday people such as private investigators, Law enforcement need warrants, attorneys and judges must follow codes of conduct and extra laws. Private investigators will generally have all of the regular freedoms that other citizens have, which can allow them to obtain information that would not be possible for someone in the legal sector.

Attorneys may communicate with an unrepresented person to gain access to their profile without the need to disclose their reason for the friend request. However, the “friending” needs to be truthful, thus, if the holder of the account requests additional information or if there is reason to believe that such a person misunderstands the attorney’s role, then additional information must be provided or withdrawal of the friend request.

Private investigators are bound by different rules to attorneys’ and law enforcement from the way they conduct their investigations to what they are permitted to do in pursuit of information.

For instance, Private investigators are permitted to create a fake profile on FaceBook and friend request s person of interest in order to gain access to their profile and all their information. As long as the information gathered by private investigators was conducted without breaking the law it is completely legal.

Permitted: Gaining access to publicly available information is the same as overhearing a conversation about incriminating activity or observing something in a public place, where there is no expectation of privacy, making the Private investigator a regular eyewitness from a legal standpoint.

Not permitted: Any conversations or activities conducted in a private place behind closed doors have a reasonable expectation of privacy. For instance, if a private investigator gathers evidence by breaking into a private home, taping a phone, using a planted microphone or listening device such evidence is not generally admissible in court and is also punishable by the law.

Legal question
If an attorney hires a private investigator to help with a case and there is need to gain information about a prospective witnesses, the opposing side witness or any other persons, yet does not instruct or suggest to the Private investigator on how to obtain the information, is this information admissible in court if the private investigator used a fake profile to gain access to a subject’s online profile?

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