What Is the Law Regarding social media?
The legal landscape surrounding social media is changing. In general, “social media law” refers to the legal difficulties surrounding user-generated information and the online websites that host it “According to Corinne Chen, an associate attorney at the New York law firm Romano Law. Because it encompasses the internet and social media, it is a vast domain.
“At the state and federal levels, social media law consists of both criminal and civil laws. Those that protect or ban the uploading of content, as well as those that broaden or restrict employee privacy rights, are examples of social media regulations “.
What You Should Know About Digital Media Laws
Despite the fact that social media rules are constantly expanding and changing, there are a few well-established laws that help to define the landscape. Chen provided a comprehensive summary of the different acts and laws that usually relate to the world of social media:
- Anti-SLAPP statutes give protection for defendants in frivolous lawsuits launched to stifle free expression.
- Discrimination based on disability is prohibited under the Americans With Disabilities Act.
- In internet, the Communications Decency Act governs indecency and obscenity.
- The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act extends the common law trespass tort to the virtual world of computers.
- The Digital Millennium Copyright Act limits liability for service providers and establishes exclusionary rights for works of authorship.
- The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) places restrictions on the gathering of personal information from children under the age of 13.
- Interception of “any wire, oral, or electronic communication” is prohibited under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”).
- The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) Act authorises the FTC to investigate unfair trade practises.
- Trademarks and service marks are protected under the Lanham Act.
- Employees’ rights to participate in and engage in concerted activity for better working conditions are guaranteed by the National Labour Relations Act.
- Entities are prohibited from accessing and retaining some private information under the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”).
What Will the Effects of Social Media Laws be on Small Businesses?
Employers should really be informed of the current social media standards that apply to their businesses, as well as how these rules apply to their employees. “Adopting a social media policy is the most important first step before a legal issue arises. This can help defend the business from dangers posed by staff or customers.”
Other places where small enterprises might focus their efforts include:
Reviews and Reactions
Consumers leave reviews of businesses on online platforms to express their approval or dissatisfaction. Negative reviews can be damaging to a company, but “reacting to such reviews can be much more hurtful and, in certain cases, lead to legal action,” Chen added. If an employee or customer leaves a poor review, the company cannot retaliate. Furthermore, a company is not permitted to erase unfavourable evaluations. If an employee leaves a good review, the relationship must be stated.
A company should have rules in place to deal with third-party information on social media, with copyright and trademark restrictions in mind. Data, client privacy, and financial information should all be protected by policies. “Material shared on social media might sometimes infringe on copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property rights,” says the author “Chen adds.
Content That Is Discriminatory
“A small firm should make it obvious to employees that whatever they publish has the potential to affect the business,” Chen says. Threats of violence, hate speech, or harassment may be criminal, and they are almost certainly against business policy.”
Endorsements by Celebrities “Issues with endorsements from celebrities, athletes, and influencers have arisen as a result of social media marketing. It may be illegal to share photos of these celebrities’ endorsing products without the endorser’s specific authorization.”
Contests & Promotions on the Internet
Examine a platform’s website’s terms of service or guidelines.
This encompasses the rights of social media users and third parties when images are put online and used without the consent of the people featured.
What Should an Employee or a Company Expect in Terms of Social Media Privacy?
Small businesses should be concerned about privacy both on their official accounts and on the personal accounts of their personnel. According to Chen, the company needs to know whether the “social media account is associated with the employee or the employer.” Employees are occasionally granted access to computers, social media accounts, and other devices related to their jobs. Businesses must assess if social media activity occurred within business hours if there is a dispute. They must also determine whether or not the behaviour is personal or professional in nature.
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“It gets tricky when it comes to employees’ social media privacy rights,” Alison Pearson, head of Human Resources at Hal Waldman and Associates Company, says. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees based on their personal social media accounts, and employers can legally fire employees for a variety of reasons that they may or may not disclose. “Employers may also conduct informal background checks on potential employees using these networks. Be informed of your state’s legislation governing social media and employee rights as regulations change “Pearson continues.
It can be argued that Social Media Laws provide users with complete privacy protection in order to handle and cope with complex issues. It also has the ability to punish wrongdoers for simply breaking an online rule or regulation. Social Media Laws also help you gain a better awareness of legal challenges.