Bankruptcy and Social Media

If you’re considering bankruptcy, you’re sure to have many concerns. Most of these concerns are likely related to finances and how filing for bankruptcy will affect your life overall, but you should also consider how your online activity will play a role in your bankruptcy.

First, it’s important to understand that bankruptcy is a legal matter. There might already be a lawsuit filed against you by a creditor – maybe several – and your bankruptcy case itself is a legal matter. This means evidence can be used against you, just as it could in any lawsuit.

Social media is an example of this. Your social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others, can all be used as evidence. Your accounts will be scrutinized by attorneys working for your creditors, as well as by the trustee assigned to your case. Anything you post can be used against you and could call into question whether or not your bankruptcy case should proceed as you hope.

What is a Trustee Looking for When Checking Social Media?

The primary issue that arises when social media accounts are scrutinized in a bankruptcy case is bankruptcy fraud.

For instance, if you’re claiming you are penniless and your social media accounts show otherwise, a trustee can challenge your claim. If you reveal information that leads a trustee to believe you have undisclosed assets, it can put your bankruptcy in jeopardy.

Of course, as you already know, not everything you see on social media is reality. The average person, even in small ways, tends to exaggerate claims and omit negative details, giving a better impression to friends and followers than exists in reality. Though it’s impossible to get accurate data on the matter, some estimates show as many as 75 percent of people lie on social media. Check out some of the reasons why in this article.

Unfortunately, this sensationalized version of your life can get you into trouble when it comes to bankruptcy. At best, you’ll feel humiliated when it’s revealed you were lying on social media; at worst, your bankruptcy will be denied.

What’s the Best Thing You Can Do with Your Social Media Accounts If You’re Considering Bankruptcy?

The best option for anyone considering bankruptcy is to shut down their social media accounts, or at least stop posting. Even if you think a post won’t be problematic, you never know what might catch a trustee’s eye. Something as simple as pictures from dinner out with friends or a vacation you took months ago could give the impression you have money you haven’t revealed to the court.

As difficult as it might be to stop posting, you need to take a break, at least while your case is winding its way through bankruptcy court. Whatever you miss out on in the social media realm will be worth it when your case goes smoothly and your bankruptcy is approved.

What about Business Social Media Accounts?

If you’re a business owner filing for bankruptcy, it’s also a good idea to discuss social media activity with your attorney.

One of the main differences concerning business social media accounts is the fact these accounts are considered part of the bankruptcy estate. This means if you file for bankruptcy for your business you could lose the social media accounts associated with that business.

This could be the case even if your accounts were originally created as personal accounts, or they still operate as a blend of personal and business. If you refer to your business or your posts contain links to your business’s website, or the accounts are used to promote your business in any way, they can be considered part of the bankruptcy estate. And if your page is set up as a business page through the social media platform, as opposed to an individual account, it will definitely be considered part of the estate.

If you’d like to learn more about how social media can affect bankruptcy and vice versa, we can help. For more information contact R. Flay Cabiness, II, P.C. at (912) 554-3774 (Brunswick, GA); (912) 375-5620 (Hazlehurst, GA) or; (912)-554-3756 (Jesup, GA).

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Hazlehurst, GA 31539
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Jesup, GA 31545
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