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How confidential are your private messages?

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WACO, Texas (FOX 44) — Ever wondered how private your messages are? Not just your texts, but also your Facebook and Instagram DM messages.

“You’re in someone else’s playground and they make the rules,” said social media expert Caryn Brown. “And what you have to remember as well is that they can change those rules as well. And sometimes they do.

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Almost all social media platforms have a message center where users can connect and talk with others.

But, regarding the privacy of these messages, there might be a chance that others will see what you wrote through the terms and conditions.

“Talk about it as your private information, but your private information is in their sandbox and on their playground,” Brown told FOX 44 News. “And so, again, they control the rules. Someone on Facebook will go to jail for keeping your DM a secret from law enforcement, regarding what is legally their responsibility. They will follow him.

Now, what if you get caught up in an investigation? Woodway Deputy Chief Khalil El-Halabi says there is a process police must follow to acquire information about someone’s phone or social media platforms.

“If it’s criminal cases, which we deal with, then we have to get a search warrant,” he said. “We need to show probable cause that we believe there is important information on this phone or on this computer, whether it’s text messages, pictures or something like that that we believe is will help our case.”

El-Halabi explained that the need for evidence in a case will outweigh your right to privacy.

But law enforcement officers should stick to the parts of someone’s phone or social media they are looking for that are described in this search warrant.

“So whatever we feel is the prerogative of our investigation,” he explained. “We have to tell the judge, that’s what we’re looking for, specific photos or text messages. And that’s usually the scope we stay in.