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November 18, 2021

3 Legal Implications of Using Social Media

By Timothy Shields.

We are living in the age of social media. We live in an age where people would rather ask for your Facebook or Twitter handle than your phone number. We are in an age where our social media profiles identify us. An age where people can make a career by posting on social media! 

As a social media attorney, I help my clients who make their living on social media navigate through some unusual legal issues!

Data Security Breach Risks

Social media holds a lot of a user’s personal information. As such, legal risks include data breaches that can potentially injure a user. High-profile people need to protect their identities from people who may want to harm them physically and those looking to commit identity theft crimes using their identities.

When someone is a victim of an online crime, it is very difficult to recover any losses or to identify the criminal.

Without a doubt, social media has become a breeding ground for persons who commit fraud. Social media yields social engineering, which is one factor for perpetuating social media frauds and scams.

Click here to read our blog on what you should do if you experience a data breach.

Intellectual Property Infringement

My clients need to be careful not to post other people’s materials, but I also need to protect their intellectual property from other people posting it!

Social media allows users to post content. Sometimes, content posted by users is copyrighted and trademarked. Individuals who use and publish copyrighted or trademarked contents can be made liable for infringement claims. Also, companies that employed those who committed copyright or trademark infringement may be made vicariously liable for such violations.

Federal laws, such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), require platforms to act quickly to takedown requests. There are, however, legal requirements the requester must adhere to. Additionally, the violator can be liable for civil penalties of thousands of dollars per post.

Disparagement and Defamation

Social media has often become a forum for defamatory statements about individuals and organizations. People online have become bolder in airing disparaging remarks about products, services, and many more.

Companies with overzealous workers might post remarks or comments that may not be completely precise or valid about an individual or a competitor’s products or services.

The posting of false remarks and defamatory statements on social media could potentially lead to lawsuits and liability.

Takeaway

Indeed, social media is fun, liberating, convenient, and, sometimes, therapeutic. But, note that social media is also a dangerous place when you are not careful. Other more legal implications come with the use of social media. Some can even be worse than those mentioned above. When negligent, you might risk getting yourself in trouble with lawsuits and liabilities. To address the legal risk associated with the use of social media, we recommend responsible use of social media. Be vigilant and wise. For organizations, we recommend that you draft a social media policy. Also, do not be afraid to ask for help. When in doubt, you can ask legal professionals to help you with social media troubles.


 

Timothy Shields is a Partner at Kelley Kronenberg focusing his practice on Technology, Data Privacy, and Social Media Representation.

Contact Timothy Shields at:
Phone: 833-830-HELP (4357)
Email: tshields@kklaw.com

 

DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as a courtesy and is intended for the general information of the matters discussed above and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Neither Kelley Kronenberg nor its individual attorneys or staff are responsible for errors, omissions and/or typographical errors – always seek competent legal counsel.