Facebook's new Facemail Messaging an eDiscovery Burden: Expert

As reported by MessagingArchitects.com, the recent hooplah surrounding Facebook’s messaging system “Facemail” may be fantastic news for social media butterflies, but it could be a looming nightmare for companies who are struggling to maintain eDiscovery compliance.

The problem? Facemail captures all communication by combining instant messaging, a social inbox (similar to an email inbox), and a conversation archive feature. These items may simply be outside the control of a company’s email archiving software – or more to the point: they won’t be deleted after a period of time, per corporate email retention policies.

It’s a headache that legal and IT departments simply don’t need at a time when they’re struggling to get a grip on mountains of new electronic data –thanks largely to the growing use of social media tools in a corporate environment (including but not limited to Facebook).

“Yes, it does create an additional burden because now a popular service that was not once used to send out emails is now providing that capability,” Rudy Rouhana, an eDiscovery expert told MessagingArchitects.com. “Now these additional features force you to examine Facebook in a different light.”

And that “different light” is one that legally requires companies to put eDiscovery systems in place to proactively capture, organize and – when appropriate – delete Facemail communications.

It’s unclear how this new and unwanted eDiscovery burden will be dealt with. Suffice it to say, it’s a budding problem (and headache) that will likely dominate both the eDiscovery and the legal landscape in 2011.

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