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The Risk of Social Media


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Tech Summit Session
The Risk of Social Media

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The Risk of Social Media

  1. 1. The Risk ofSocial Media
  2. 2. Understanding the legalimplications of what ispresented on your socialmedia site can beconfusing. To break it alldown :
  3. 3. If you are using text, audio, video or images on yoursite that you did not create yourself, you may beviolating an individual’s or organization’s copyright.However, if your posting qualifies as “fair use,” thenuse of the content will most likely not be questioned.Common situations of fair use include criticism,comment, news reporting and education.COPYRIGHT:
  4. 4. As the article states, “If you are using another’strademark, you may be liable for infringement, wherethe owner can establish that your use of its mark or amark similar to it will likely cause consumer confusionas to the source of the material.” And if it is proven thatyour conduct diluted the strength of the owner’strademark, there may be potential for further liability.TRADEMARK:
  5. 5. This is a huge topic in the realm of social media andthe risks involved. In general terms, a defamatorystatement is “a false and disparaging statement aboutanother which causes injury to reputation (or in somecases causes emotional distress).” Along withindividuals, businesses and products can also bedefamed, sometimes causing reputation and financialdamage (cue lawsuit).DEFAMATION:
  6. 6. This section is geared towards those whose professioninvolves confidentiality agreements (lawyers, doctors,advisers, etc.). If there is proof of a breach of thisagreement, possible sanctions “may includetermination of employment, loss of professionallicense, potential significant civil liability (such as in thecontext of trade secret dissemination), or even criminalliability.”CONFIDENTIALITY:
  7. 7. These are just a few of the potential legal risks ofsocial media. And as society continues to move toeven more of an online presence (for both personaland business aspects), we will continue to learn thepossible implications of a social media world.
  9. 9. Horror stories persist about how the perceivedinformality of email caused individuals to think therewas latitude to say things that would be inappropriatein formal contexts. That same trap lurks in the socialmedia. individuals must know they are subject totraditional legal principles.#1: DONT BE FOOLEDBY INFORMALITY
  10. 10. Employers are generally held responsible for allemployees actions that are performed as a part oftheir job. Remind staff that existing employeeguidelines also apply to online posts -- and create asocial media policy that unambiguously formalizesacceptable behavior#2: KNOW THEIMPLICATIONS OFEMPLOYEE POSTS
  11. 11. Risks arising from posts or comments by third partiescan be avoided by simply not allowing them. Notallowing posts or comments by others can havepractical downsides, however. Chief among these islimiting opportunities for interaction with potentialcustomers.#3: THINK TWICE ABOUTOUTSIDE SUBMISSIONS
  12. 12. Should you determine that a mistake was made andthat what you posted was a false, derogatorystatement, a prompt correction or clarification shouldhelp reduce potential damages. Plus, it furthers thegoal of providing accurate information to youraudience.#4: IF YOU MAKE AMISTAKE, FIX IT
  13. 13. If you say you will do something, make sure you followthrough. This will help avoid potential liability for claimssuch as misrepresentation or breach of contract. It willalso help keep you from earning the unwanted ire ofdisappointed customers.#5: NEVER MAKEPROMISES YOU CANTKEEP
  14. 14. Regularly monitor your online pages and profiles sothat you can promptly detect if your page or profile hasbeen hijacked or modified by an outside party withoutpermission. They may send messages you did notcreate and attribute them to you.#6: MONITOR YOURONLINE PRESENCE
  15. 15. If your business is in a heavily regulated industry, besure you are not violating applicable requirements. Ifyour business is a publicly traded entity that is subjectto SEC regulations, do not run afoul of rules such asthose regarding public statements.#7: COMPLY WITHREGULATORYREQUIREMENTS
  16. 16. To the extent that your social networking efforts may beviewed in whole -- or even in part -- as an advertisingmethod, you will need to comply with all applicableadvertising, "deceptive practice" and "unfaircompetition" laws and regulations.#8: FOLLOWADVERTISINGRESTRICTIONS
  17. 17. Facebook reports that about 70% of its half a billionusers are outside the U.S. The laws of manyjurisdictions may potentially apply, which, among otherthings, may not be as protective of certain rights asU.S. laws are -- and may not provide the privileges thatU.S. laws do.#9: APPRECIATE SOCIALMEDIAS GLOBALREACH
  18. 18. Statements may be protected from constitutingdefamation if they are not capable of being proven trueor false. But merely labeling something an opiniondoes not necessarily give it a free ride, and words like"I think" or "I believe" do not assure protection for whatfollows.#10: LABELING IT"OPINION" DOESNT MAKEIT SO
  19. 19. You may obtain some insulation from certain claims byappropriately qualifying language. If there is doubt, useless-than-absolute words like "may" or "might" ratherthan "will." Terms like "alleged" or "reported" may alsoreduce certain liability risks.#11: QUALIFY YOURLANGUAGE
  20. 20. You may obtain some insulation from liability byposting disclaimers. A disclaimer is not perfect orironclad by any means, of course, and the degree towhich courts uphold them is not absolute, but it isalways better to have one than not. They can definitelyhelp.#12: USE APPROPRIATEDISCLAIMERS
  21. 21. Businesses that receive client or patient confidencesmust maintain that confidentiality. Possible sanctionsfor breach may include termination of employment,loss of professional license, significant civil liability -- oreven criminal liability.#13: MAINTAINCONFIDENTIALITY
  22. 22. Review your policies to determine if the types ofpotential risks described in this list are covered.Consider obtaining additional coverage if they are not,such as third party media liability coverage forinfringement and liability costs associated with internetpublishing.#14: PURCHASESUFFICIENT LIABILITYINSURANCE
  23. 23. Be sure to consult with experienced counsel about allsocial media matters before you begin to leverage allthe opportunities it offers. Receiving legal advice froman expert about the specific online activities you planto engage in will provide the best protection.#15: RETAIN COUNSELBEFORE YOU HAVE APROBLEM