Judgment in the Age of Social Media: How Social Media Shapes Legal Decision-Making


With the rise of social media; Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and many more, they have become an interwoven part of people’s lives all over the world. Today social media plays a huge role in people’s lives and impacts any decisions – ranging from a cup of coffee to a life changing one. This consequence spreads across all facets of life; it therefore does not spare the judicial system. This paper seeks to uncover the myriads of factors related to the internet and its effects on the decisions of the courts with regards to influence from the public, partiality of judges and rationality. Leading up to the cases being presented in court, the community often tries the cases, often through the media, the event characteristic of the string known as ‘media trial’ which can create an influence over the judges. Second of all, concerns can appear, depending on the spread of information which can be both truthful and fake, in the eyes of the public and judicial experts. Following the outlined paradox of social media and constructing on the literature review in the present article, I focus on the revelation and hiding of truth. It can endorse bigotry and fake news; however, it provides an extra channel to the legal process to become more accessible to action and scrutiny. These dynamics are illustrated by examples of high-profile trials that have recently taken place as they indicate how the internet and other systems may accelerate the distribution of information within the context of trials and influence the outcomes that it yields. The article also examines plans of mitigating the negative effects of social media on the legal process and on the real challenges faced.In the final analysis, this article emphasises how adjudicators must adjust to the omnipresent impact of social media in order to ensure that justice is carried out impartially and equitably in a society growing more interconnected by the day.

Keywords- Social media, Judiciary, Impact, Public, Bias


The growth of social networking sites has completely altered the communication process in terms of how people interrelate especially in terms of dissemination of knowledge and formation of opinions. In fact, the Communication –or more specifically- social media has a dramatic impact on almost all aspects or spheres of life, including the legal one. That is much more than mere conveyance of information and merely getting pleasure out of it. The principles of the Indian criminal law can be summed up as follows Every man has a right to a trial that shall be equal, and right to be considered innocent until proved guilty. There is a significant preclusion of a derisory outcome of the accused if the faucets of news report will only be limited to the social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and twitter that accelerates the circulation of information and public involvement in legal issues.
More so, in the last decade, escalation of the influence of the social media on the legal system has been apparent especially on cases of corruption, rape, murder or terrorist operations and sexual harassment. The accused in the course of litigating their cases feel that the adjudicating authorities are indirectly propelled by this online movement to offer victims justice despite the fact that this might taint the trial process, influence their trials and in effect minimal chances of acquittal. The stereotypes of courts and the judiciary are shaken when the judges engage in social media activities, and arise different ethical concerns concerning interaction with other players.
With regard to the study objectives of this article, it concentrates on the following aspects, the impact of social media on the legal sector, including case studies and challenges, and measures to address the negative effects.


Social Medias’ omnipresent influence has significantly affected the judiciary altering the dissemination of justice. One of the primary impacts is on public perception and pressure. Social media platforms amplify public opinion and can exert substantial pressure on the judiciary. High-profile cases often attract intense scrutiny and commentary, leading to a “trial by media” scenario. This public discourse can influence perceptions of fairness and impartiality, potentially undermining confidence in judicial outcomes. Judiciary is not completely immune to the effect of social media, judges usually come in contact with views/information that bias their decisions. This issue causes problem in the process of fair trials. Tis raises the chances of impartiality in the minds of the judges. Moreover this widespread publication of case details through unauthorised sources in the social media can breach privacy of the court proceedings as well as the privacy of the parties involved Sensitive information about victims, witnesses, and defendants can be easily accessed and shared, potentially leading to harassment or intimidation. The case laws of Shreya Singhal v. Union of India and Arun Jaitley v. State of UP. However, if we see then a positive side of this is social media can serve as a valuable tool for exposing judicial misconduct. But there’s a negative side of that as well ,i.e. it may also raise reputational damage caused due to false allegations of judicial misconduct on judges.


Impact of social media can bring challenges to the judiciary these challenges involve the following

  • Privacy Concerns: Social media platforms often contain personal information that individuals may not intend for public consumption. The use of social media as evidence in legal proceedings raises concerns about privacy invasion, as private communications or sensitive personal details may be exposed without consent.
  • Misleading or Inaccurate Information: Not all information shared on social media is accurate or reliable. False or misleading posts, photos, or videos can be easily circulated, potentially influencing perceptions or judgments in legal cases. This can lead to misinformation and unfair outcomes.
  • Selective Representation: Individuals may selectively present information on social media to portray themselves in a favourable light or to manipulate public opinion. This selective representation can distort the truth and hinder the fair administration of justice.
  • Tampering with Evidence: Social media content can be easily edited, deleted, or manipulated, raising concerns about the authenticity and integrity of evidence obtained from these platforms. Parties involved in legal proceedings may attempt to tamper with or destroy social media evidence to influence the outcome of a case.
  • Bias and Prejudice: Social media platforms can amplify biases and prejudices, affecting perceptions of parties involved in legal proceedings. Prejudicial comments, stereotypes, or discriminatory attitudes expressed on social media may influence the attitudes of judges, jurors, or the public, potentially leading to unfair treatment.
  • Challenges in Authentication: Authenticating social media evidence can be challenging, as it may be difficult to verify the origin, accuracy, and context of posts or communications. The admissibility of social media evidence in court can be disputed due to concerns about authenticity and chain of custody.


Mitigating the challenges posed by social media on the judiciary requires an approach that undermines all the challenges posed by social media on the impartiality in the decision making process of the judges. Some suggestions are as follows:

  • Preserve Professionalism: In all of your social media contacts, always operate with the utmost professionalism. Steer clear of heated or divisive arguments and don’t say anything negative about your clients, coworkers, or the legal system.
  • Preserve Client Confidentiality: Always preserve client confidentiality. Avoid sharing details about individual situations or private information on social media, even in general.
  • Separate Personal and Professional Accounts: Consider maintaining separate social media accounts for personal and professional use. Keep your professional accounts focused on legal matters and networking while using personal accounts for non-professional interactions.
  • Engage Thoughtfully: Engage thoughtfully and constructively in online discussions related to legal topics. Demonstrate your expertise by providing valuable insights, participating in professional conversations, and contributing to the legal community in a meaningful way.
  • Stay Informed About Ethical Considerations: Stay informed about evolving ethical considerations and guidelines related to social media use by lawyers. Attend relevant training sessions, participate in professional development activities, and consult with ethics advisors as needed to ensure compliance with ethical obligations.


The impact of social media presents both negative and positive. on the one hand, balanced against the positive. While on one hand social media increases in the transparency and well informed citizenry, the other hand leads to the misinformation, undue Public pressure and bias in the judicial proceedings. There will also be the need to employ certain strategies to portray the judiciary in the right light such as ethical considerations. Going forward, a balanced approach that respects the tenets of justice and free speech will be key to maintaining social media as a mechanism that aids, not hinders the judicious process.

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Article written by – PRATYASA MISHRA

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