Bot or Not? Authenticating Social Media Evidence at Trial in the Age of Internet Fakery

Clifford C. Histed
Desiree F. Moore
DC Wolf
Clifford C. Histed | Commodity Futures Trading Commission
Desiree F. Moore |
DC Wolf |

On-Demand: February 23, 2021

Bot or Not? Authenticating Social Media Evidence at Trial in the Age of Internet Fakery

$95.00 1 hour CLE

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Program Summary

Social media has the potential to offer a more valuable trove of courtroom evidence than ever before. But what should today’s trial lawyers know about how to authenticate that evidence in an age where manipulation, misinformation, and outright forgery are rampant in the digital world?

While the evidentiary rules around authenticating evidence may be familiar to many, special considerations arise when it comes to relying on evidence from social media platforms and related Internet sources, particularly as these platforms have increasingly become the instruments and targets of manipulation and misinformation. This course will help lawyers understand the challenges of relying on social media evidence, become attuned to the impact of changing technology, and learn strategies for getting such evidence before the trier of fact.

This course is co-sponsored with myLawCLE.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • Overview of evidentiary rules for authenticating evidence
  • How courts apply authentication rules to social media
  • Special considerations for a changing technological landscape
  • Strategies for authenticating social media evidence if authorship is disputed.

Date / Time: February 23, 2021

Closed-captioning available upon request


Clifford C. Histed_Commodity Futures Trading Commission_myLawCLEClifford C. Histed | Commodity Futures Trading Commission

Clifford C. Histed is a former supervisory federal prosecutor, state prosecutor, and enforcement lawyer with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. He has more than 30 years’ experience investigating, prosecuting, and defending business frauds and criminal offenses in highly regulated industries, including the securities markets, the futures markets, and health care. He has tried 27 jury and nonjury cases, both criminal and civil, in federal and state courts. Many of those trials involved the admission of online communications, evidence gathered from computers, and evidence where the authenticity of the evidence was challenged and outcome determinative. He is a member of the K&L Gates Trial Academy and served as a member of its steering committee.

Cliff has conducted or supervised hundreds of investigations and prosecutions, including those involving fraud, corruption, insider trading, and market manipulation, including the case U.S. v. Michael Coscia, the first case to charge the disruptive trading practice known as “spoofing” as a crime. Cliff speaks and writes frequently on the topic of futures and securities trading, and on regulation of cryptocurrencies.

Desiree F. Moore_myLawCLEDesiree F. Moore

Desiree F. Moore counsels’ clients in highly visible roles, positions, and industries in proactively planning for and effectively managing public-facing crises. She also helps clients identify and manage the risks associated with social media use, counseling individuals and corporations alike on social media best practices and implementing regulations for social media use in and outside of the workplace, as well as related disciplinary measures.

As a trial attorney, Desiree has successfully litigated in both trial and appellate state and federal courts and has managed high-level disputes in sectors such as cryptocurrency, social media, intellectual property, entertainment, product liability, labor and employment, and class action defense, particularly in cases involving online communications and high-profile parties or issues.

DC Wolf_myLawCLEDC Wolf

DC Wolf is a litigator who represents clients in disputes and investigations involving business and investment transactions, corporate governance, online misconduct, and government enforcement. DC’s clients come from a broad range of sectors, including cryptocurrency, investment funds, renewable energy, consumer products, and healthcare.

DC has litigated in state and federal court at both the trial and appellate levels, including jury trials, and argument before the Washington State Court of Appeals in a complex internet stalking case involving evidentiary disputes over digital evidence. DC maintains an active pro bono practice representing survivors of domestic violence and cyber-bullying seeking to escape the cycle of abuse.


I. The rules of evidence and the unique challenges of social media | 1:00pm – 1:15pm
The “imposter problem” | 1:15pm – 1:30pm
Three pathways to authenticity | 1:30pm – 1:45pm
The implications of artificial intelligence & machine learning | 1:45pm – 2:00pm