Social  networking's popularity  has become a two-edged sword as a tool in  the management, investigation, and disposition of workers' compensation claims. Over the last several years there has been an exponential explosion in the use of this technology on the Internet. The challenge to properly access and effectively utilize the electronically stored information [ESI] is resulting in procedural and ethical ramifications for the workers' compensation community.

This new form of communication involving interpersonal and social data has been embraced by millions of Internet users worldwide through the launching of such services as: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs and Meetup.

Facebook, launched by young Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg, in February 2004, now has 500 million users and is the most visited site on the Internet. The average Facebook user has 130 "friends." Each month, the site accumulates more than 20 billion bits of information and 3 billion photos by the mutual consent of those who are "on" the system.

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