Have you ever heard about Social Media Law? With the advent of social media, there are a lot more ways for people to communicate these days. Unfortunately, that also means there are more opportunities for legal trouble. In order to stay on the right side of the law, it’s important to understand just what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to social media communications. This blog post will outline some key points to keep in mind when using social media so you can avoid any run-ins with the law. Keep reading with powerpacplus.org!
What is social media law and why do we need it?
Social media law is a new area of law that has both criminal and civil implications. It addresses legal problems of user-generated content and the websites that host or broadcast it in general. Privacy, including the rights of both social media users and other parties (for example, when images are posted and used online without the consent of the people depicted); defamation; advertising law; and intellectual property (IP) law are some of the unique legal challenges raised by social media. Copyright, trademark, and other intellectual property rights can be infringed on by anything published on social media.
As a brand, you must exercise caution when sharing content on social media because it may infringe on a copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property rights. The social media bylaw-related scenario is evolving in tandem with the growth of social networks. The vast terrain of social media protects posting on online content based on guidelines, and it may broaden or protect employees’ limited privacy rights.
If you are sued as a result of your users’ actions, these professionals can help you and your organization. Furthermore, professionals who specialize in intellectual property rights can help you protect your trademarks, logos, or copyrighted materials that are being misappropriated on social media.
How does the law protect our privacy online?
Employers may not request or require access (login) information, or otherwise compel an employee or prospective employee to grant access to or observe a personal internet account. Employers or prospective employers may not refuse to hire, discharge, or otherwise discriminate against an employee or prospective employee because he or she refuses to provide such information, opposes a prohibited practice, or participates in the enforcement of this law.
However, there are some exceptions to this protection:
- An employer may require access information (such as a password) for a device that the employer provides (such as an employer-provided computer or smart phone)
- If an employee transfers the employer’s information or financial data using the employee’s personal internet account, the employer may require that employee to grant access or allow observation.
- When using an employer’s equipment or network, access to websites may be restricted.
- If an employee’s personal internet account is open to the public, an employer may view or access it.
- An employer may request or require a personal email address from an employee.
Federal and State Social Media Laws
The Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act are two federal laws that address social media privacy concerns (COPPA). Many other efforts have been made to enact federal legislation to improve social media protections, but no national comprehensive social media privacy laws exist as of yet; there is no U.S. equivalent to the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Some states have taken steps to protect social media privacy, enacting legislation that typically falls into one of the following categories:
- Legislation requiring the implementation of security measures;
- Legislation imposing liability and criminal penalties for hacking; and
- Legislation requiring data breaches to be reported.
California law, for example, requires persons or businesses doing business in California to notify consumers of a data breach in the “most expedient time possible.”
Social Media Privacy Laws in the Workplace
The employer/employee relationship is an important one in the context of social media privacy. With the increased use of social media in the workplace, there is legitimate concern about employee privacy violations. Because employers use social media research to screen potential employees, many laws protect the privacy of job applicants as well as actual employees.
Employers are generally prohibited by state law from engaging in the following activities:
- Requiring or requesting user names, account passwords, or login credentials for personal social media accounts of job applicants/employees;
- Requiring an employee to add another employee, manager, or administrator to their social media account’s friends or contact list; or
- Requiring employees to change their privacy settings
Thing to consider about it
Responding To Customer Reviews
Clients use social media to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with a business. Negative reviews can harm your company’s reputation, but reacting negatively to a negative review can be even more damaging. In some cases, it may even result in legal action. You, as an organization, are not permitted to retaliate against a customer who posts negative reviews.
There is also a need to prevent comments from becoming visible right away if the content is likely to elicit a defamatory response. Comment moderation is critical to avoiding chaos and saving your business from such situations. Comment moderation tools come in handy here. Statusbrew’s comment moderation also allows users to hide, delete, or create any content that they believe may harm their company’s reputation or result in legal consequences.
You should follow social media policies when posting third-party content, give proper credit, and follow copyright and trademark laws. Furthermore, you should have a social media policy in place that safeguards customer privacy and financial information. This is an important factor to consider.
If you use someone else’s original material, such as a quote, a passage, a song, or even a photograph, give proper credit. If user content is available virtually, make sure to include a link to the original content.
The copyright would focus on protecting the rights of creators; if you plagiarized any original content, you are infringing their copyright; additionally, while using Pinterest or any other social media platform, make sure that you are aware of the copyrighted materials. Otherwise, you may be held liable for the infringement.
Posting Discriminatory Content
Avoid posting any discriminatory content and make it clear to employees the potential consequences of doing so. Never post any content that contains threats of violence, hate speech, or harassment, or any content that may be illegal and is most likely in violation of the respective social media network’s policy.
Racism, casteism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination have no place in social interactions. Even if you’re sharing humorous content, think twice before sharing anything that could be interpreted as bigotry or defamation.
Be Careful With Endorsements
One of the significant emerging trends in social media marketing is endorsements from celebrities, athletes, and influencers. Never post an image of a celebration endorsing your product unless you have the endorser’s explicit permission.
Aside from being cautious when posting photographs from any website, photos often include the rights of social media users. Please do not post any third-party photos without the permission of the people pictured. Make sure to obtain consent before taking pictures or videos of people at an event and sharing them on social media, a blog post, or any promotional materials.
Most importantly, understand the rules. It’s easier to understand them than it is to break them; in the age of social media, news travels quickly, and any legal litigation against your brand may have a significant impact on your brand’s reputation.
It can be confusing, but it’s important to understand it in order to comply with regulations. We hope that this article has helped you gain a better understanding of law and how it applies to your business. If you have any questions or need help implementing these policies, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We want to make sure that your business is compliant with the latest social media laws so you can focus on what you do best – running your company! Have you had any experience dealing with it? Let us know in the comments below.