Is it illegal to access someone else’s social media?

On Behalf of | Dec 4, 2021 | Criminal Defense |

You have likely seen people post on social media that they have hacked a friend’s account. It’s usually done in a joking manner, and it doesn’t actually mean that they hacked into anything in the way that you would imagine. They just found out that their friend had left their account logged in, so they posted something. 

While none of this is a problem, it may have gotten you thinking. What if you actually did hack into someone else’s social media? Is it illegal to access it without their permission? Could something so simple lead to computer crimes charges? 

Anything done without permission is a breach of the law 

Though it may surprise you, the fact of the matter is that accessing someone else’s accounts and information that they thought was private without their permission to do so is illegal. Although technology-based laws are often wildly outdated since technology moves much quicker than the law, older laws have been expanded to encompass this area. So, in the same way that it is illegal to hack into someone’s email, it’s also illegal to hack into their social media. 

But what if you knew their password? 

Knowing someone’s password is not the issue. It is when you use that password without their permission that you break the law. So even if you do not consider yourself a hacker or have the computer skills you would expect of a hacker, you could still face criminal charges.

If this happens to you, it will likely come as a bit of a surprise, and that’s why it’s so important to know about all of your legal options.