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Social Media’s Growing Impact Includes Court Trials

The defamation trial involving Johnny Depp’s lawsuit against his ex-wife Amber Heard not only dominated cable and other news outlets it also catapulted interest on TikTok and other digital media.

The jury in that case ultimately awarded Mr. Depp the sum of $10 million, and for his ex-wife the sum of $2 million for which appeals remain pending.

What is noteworthy is that between Twitter, TikTok, and other digital streaming platforms, more than 21.6 billion views were racked up for Johnny Depp’s followers versus 132.4 million for his former wife. It makes you wonder if the Court verdict was even necessary when clearly the volume of media following already had declared a winner.

Put in perspective, this trial generated more social media interactions per published article than President Joe Biden, the U.S. Supreme Court’s leaked abortion decision, or the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

Seeing this type of activity on social media raises significant concerns about how it might affect jurors or witnesses who are preparing to testify.

There are new efforts being made to further instruct the jury on accessing social media during a case, monitoring their own media accounts, or the Court determining that the case could be harmed by public opinion in deciding the courtroom proceedings will be closed to the public.

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