It is getting harder and harder to trust anything online these days. Be careful what you read or consume is just no longer possible. To be fooled is easy for all of us. If you are somewhat attuned to the social media world, like I am at 55 years old, it is easy to miss fakes, deepfakes, photoshops etc. I recently saw a guy with a side hustle renting out a gulfstream jet that was under repair for influencers to use as a set showing them in their private jet on the way to fakeland. It was worth a chuckle and smh. Don’t know that abbreviation (shaking my head a/k/a people are crazy)? Suffice it to say that we will all be deceived in the future. The sheer amount of fakery out there affects perceptions of all things internet.
In Court, how a judge perceives the internet and its reliability will matter in a lot of cases. I recently finished up a products liability case where consumer complaints about a product were a major point in my case. I was trying to establish that prior complaints meant that the company was on notice of the dangers of the product and that similar incidents had occurred. The complaints were made online through a store’s website and responded to by the manufacturer. Many complaints were noted to be by “verified purchaser”. To me, these were admissible for a variety of reasons. To the defense, they were merely out of court statements offered for the truth of the matter asserted. That is classic hearsay and not permissible in evidence because you cannot drag the internet commenter into court to cross-examine them. But, the law moves slowly and painfully slowly at times. Should internet comments and reviews be admissible? It certainly seems like they should in my case, but reliability is the lynchpin or gravamen or touchstone of evidence and admissibility. There are ways around the rule against hearsay, but pithy internet commenter posts are amusing and often distill the problem with the product to its very essence.