If an employee creates a social media account on behalf of your organization, it is very likely that you will be able to get your employee`s account name. However, it may not be so easy if your competitor owns the social media account. Here`s what some of the major social media platforms have to say about owning a user account: The first two categories are covered in more detail elsewhere in this issue of Trust the Leaders, so this feature focuses on the main legal issues in the latter category. Since social media tools use multiple technologies and are particularly well suited for creative marketing activities, there is an acute concentration of legal issues related to the use of social media, some of which are discussed below. Online company Freelancer received a negative ruling from the Privacy Commissioner last year when it publicly identified a user when it responded on social media, including Facebook, to negative comments posted by the consumer, either anonymously or using a pseudonym. The claimant was awarded damages in the amount of USD 20,000. While this is an extreme example of someone raising this issue all the way to the commissioner, there is no doubt that it happens more often than has been reported. Companies are increasingly relying on social media as an advertising channel, as a way to connect with customers and gain valuable insights into the market. This includes a wide range of potential risks, including copyright infringement. When an employee reproduces the copyright owner`s photos, music and text without their consent. Another threat is when your employee defames competing companies or competitors on your company`s social media platform.
You can protect your business from social media risks with a social media policy. This way, you will inform your employees whether their online behavior is appropriate or not. Your company`s culture influences how you design your social media policy. Your culture may require a prescriptive policy or a principled policy. Posting false remarks and defamatory statements on social media could potentially lead to lawsuits and liability. Legal risks can usefully be divided into a few overlapping categories: Understanding the legal compliance requirements of these tactics is crucial for agencies, which can be held liable, along with their brand clients, for non-compliance. One of the biggest risks associated with social media is the disclosure of confidential company information. This may include trade secrets, know-how and other proprietary information. If the information contains personal data, it can also be a data breach. The risk with social media is that defamation can potentially be done by “liking” or “sharing” someone else`s defamatory comment, especially if it introduces a new, wider audience to the content. And we all know how quick and easy it is to press these ubiquitous buttons.
As with many innovative technologies in the enterprise, the use of social media brings significant benefits that are mitigated, if not properly managed, by countless liability pitfalls. In due course, the legislation applicable to these applications will be better regulated, as will the diffusion of other relatively new technologies. In the meantime, by implementing appropriate safeguards and policies and maintaining awareness of compliance obligations, the opportunities associated with the use of social media are expected to far outweigh the challenges. Learn how Thomson Reuters Compliance Learning can help employees understand the importance of social media compliance and responsible use Specific requirements must be met to prevent online contests and online sweepstakes promotions based on social media from conflicting with many state laws restricting illegal sweepstakes. In any case, this requires the elimination of one of two elements – “coincidence” and payment of “consideration” – which, if both are present in a promotion, will result in a prohibited lottery. Two federal statutes dealing with electronic communications, the Control of Aggression by Unsolicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM) and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), require special attention when using social media, especially if there is no sender-recipient relationship or if the recipient has not expressly opted in to receive emails or text messages. The unpredictable, spontaneous and potentially viral nature of social media can cause serious damage to a company`s reputation. Here are just a few examples from this year: As a social media lawyer, I help my clients who make a living on social media solve unusual legal issues! Another safe haven under Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protects website owners from third-party contributions that infringe the copyrights of others. Among other things, the site operator must not have derived a direct financial benefit from the infringing activity and the infringing content must be removed immediately after the operator becomes aware of an alleged infringement. Together, CDA Section 230 and Section 512(c) grant social media companies broad immunity from illegal user-generated content.
Although social media tools are used in many organizations to allow widespread and decentralized access, acceptance of terms and conditions on behalf of an organization should be reserved for a specific person or contact function within that organization.