If you find yourself accused of serious criminal conduct, it may be wise to delete your social media profiles.

Modern social media began simply as a way for college students to communicate with each other easily; Facebook, for instance, started at Harvard and was only open to students from the school.

It has ballooned into something else entirely. Now it feels like most people have at least one social media account, and many have interconnecting accounts — like Facebook and Instagram.

As you can imagine, the police have begun using social media as evidence. One thing that they point out is that the contents of “everyday conversations” now turn into digital content. This does not get deleted. In the past, an offhand comment made in person and promptly forgotten by everyone involved would not play a role in court. But if that comment was a post on someone’s profile, now it can be checked, printed and entered into court. We have records of all sorts of things that we simply did not have records of before.

Photo evidence is also ballooning. People use to take pictures sparingly and pay to print them. Today, pictures can be taken digitally, for free, and millions and millions of them get uploaded to social media sites. They’re not just printed. They’re available for everyone to use and see.

Do not underestimate how this type of evidence can impact a criminal case. If you’re facing charges, be careful with what you post, and make sure you know what legal options you have.