Shreya Saxena (Student at Faculty of Law Banasthali Vidyapith Rajasthan.) 01 May 2020
There’s no doubt that we are living in the age of social media. Social media legislation relating to who owns the content being shared, when and where sharing is acceptable, and what restrictions might be placed on sharing also raise concerns related to trademark infringement, copyright infringement, social media marketing, workplace relations, and more.
Below are five tips that could prevent you from getting into trouble when it comes to various social media sites.
1. Digital Contests & Promotions: Check out the Terms of Service (TOS) or other specific rules provided by the website you use. Those are the laws that should be followed. Facebook does have some very specific guidelines. "Promotions may be performed on Facebook pages or inside apps. Personal timelines can not be used to administer promotions (e.g., "share on your timeline to join" or "share on the timeline of your friend to obtain additional entries" is not allowed).
2. Reviews: Many sites encourage users to share their experiences and provide reviews for various companies. Poor ratings may be negative and these review sites could be suspicious of certain business owners. However others may have moved a little too hard against the criticism by adding clauses to sales contracts that would prohibit their customers from posting derogatory remarks online about them.
3. Endorsements: Transparency is important as bloggers and others write about the goods and services online. If a company compensated them and/or obtained free items and then wrote about those items, then the relationship must be disclosed to the reader in a way that is transparent.
4. Photographs: Social media and the law often collide when it comes to pictures that are being shared online. Cute baby animal pictures and beautifully decorated cupcakes can be irresistible. Not only do we want to look at them, but we want to share them with our friends. Before you use that picture, don’t assume that it’s yours for the taking just because you found it online. Many if not most photographs are copyrighted and owned by the person who took the picture. Try to find the source and seek permission before you use it.
5. Employee Rights: Employers should take a second look before deciding to fire employees based on negative comments on social media. Similar to the issue of consumers having the right to write negative reviews about a business online, employees may sometimes have the right to vent about their employers online as well.
The only way to keep from falling off the metaphorical bridge is to pay attention as the law surrounding social media develops.
G.L.N. Prasad (Retired employee.) 01 May 2020
The simple one-liner is that the post should be a fact, not abusive, not insulting and the person who posts is personally responsible for such actions on such facts of the post.