Social Media and the Law
In the digital age, an entirely new communication experience has emerged through social media which has its own certain legal implications. The average individual has five social media accounts and spends around one and a half hours daily on those platforms according to The Telegraph.
Social media laws relating to who owns the content being shared, when and where sharing is appropriate, and what limits may be imposed on sharing often raises issues relating to trademark infringement, copyright infringement, social media marketing, labor relations and more because of this communication revolution.
Social media’s broadness and speed, while a vital asset when used properly, has also made it difficult to navigate its legalities. Here are five important things you need to be aware of when capturing, scrolling and posting on social media, so you can enjoy doing all the things you love—the correct and safe way.
- It is Public—One of the most important tools in using social media is properly understanding that what you post on social media is public. Even if you have set your account to “private”, having the knowledge that your profile, posts and comments can and will be seen by co-workers and employers will be helpful in avoiding unwanted situations in the future.
- Avoid Making False Statements—It is imperative to understand that making false claims, or defaming someone, can land you in hot water. Be sure that you make accurate claims and statements, especially about your company. This will go a long way in avoiding legal implications through social media.
- Think Before You Post—Social media is a powerful tool that when used properly can have major payoff. Adversely, when it is used incorrectly or with malice, it can cause liability for a company or an employee and often end in legal ramifications. Therefore, think carefully and critically before you make a nasty comment about your co-worker, boss or company. Social media is a vast resource for evidence. Once posted, you can’t take back what was said, so think carefully before you press ‘post’.
- Copyright and Fair Use—Understand what you are allowed to repost or “re-gram” and what you are not. If you are taking information from another source give credit to the artist or source. Most often, this occurs when using social media for work purposes, but be sure you know how to attribute your or others’ work so that you don’t run into issues for copyright infringement.
- Maintain the Social Media Policy—Don’t push the boundaries. Policies are put in place to protect your employer, your colleagues and you. It is important when using social media that you are still exemplifying the type of person or employee you would want to hire. This mentality will help in how you use social media to your advantage and not to your detriment as an employee.
These are just a few key points to keep in mind when using social media so that you can avoid trouble in both the workplace or in your home. Contact the attorneys at Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC, today to schedule a consultation on your current legal needs.