Social Media: 5 Legal Risks to Your Business

Social networking has become not merely a place to talk about our personal lives. Lots of men and women use social media to advertise their business, communicate with clients, and recruit or checkup on workers. But most businesses do not consider the legal risks and problems that may come from such use. Listed below are five legal risks which you ought to think about when you or your employees are using social media to publicize your company.

5 Legal Hazards that Affect Your Organization

  1. Intellectual property. You need to be cautious about using content created by other people. Even though you may comment on content, there’s danger when using content created by others to advertise your company without their permission. Additionally, using another individual’s likeness (i.e. image ) without permission could violate an individual’s right of publicity or right of privacy. This might seem simple, but the rate at which posts happen on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms could result in not fully assessing the usage before it is posted. By way of instance, if a client posts a positive review on Facebook or Twitter and you copy that post to your site to use as a testimonial for your product, you face the risk that the client’s right of privacy was violated. You should seek consent from that client to prevent possible legal liability for using their name, likeness, and articles. On sites and blogs, you can subject the consumers to your terms and requirements, which should contain provisions to give you the right to use any material posted to your site or blog for promotional purposes.
  2. Advertising and testimonials. Regardless of the platform, you need to be careful when describing your products or services to be certain that the descriptions are honest. Any false or misleading statements about your products or services can create accountability. Opinions are acceptable — for example,”this is the ideal sink in the marketplace” — but claims about attributes or other particulars should be carefully reviewed. Moreover, you might be sued for false advertising or unfair competition if you pay for testimonials, provide a product at no cost in exchange for a review, or there’s some other connection between the reviewer and the company, and you don’t disclose that information. If there’s a connection to the business by someone talking publically about your company in social networking or on your site, that relationship needs to be clearly mentioned.
  3. Defamation. As well as speaking truthfully about your service or product, you must talk honestly about your competitor’s goods or services. Any false claims that could harm the standing of your competitor or among the workers might lead to a claim for defamation. Care must be taken when comparing your product to your opponents to ensure all claims, benefits, disadvantages, or other information stated concerning the competitor’s product is true. Moreover, you need to keep any evidence regarding the claims you made only in case you will need to defend a claim for defamation.
  4. Stipulations of social networking sites. You ought to know that Facebook, Twitter, and many others have their own terms and conditions that have to be followed, especially as they relate to advertising on their platforms. You should be certain that you observe those requirements to prevent your advertisements or your whole account being removed from their platform and possible legal liability for your activities. Social networking sites can be a excellent way to remain in front of your customers at a minimal cost, so losing the privilege of using it can be a significant blow to your company’s promotional strategies.
  5. Ownership of accounts. Lately there have been a few cases dealing with who really owns the rights to a social networking account. If the business has control over access and requires the workers to post on their Twitter or Facebook account, if the company have some ownership interest in the account? Wouldn’t the company prefer to have access to all those followers and control of what material comes from this account after the worker leaves? The courts haven’t yet decided on what standards would contribute to an ownership interest by an employer of a social networking account, but you must be conscious of this problem and try to take action to safeguard your interests. If you want to control an account that’s set-up purely for company or your employees set-up for promoting your business, your employee handbook or Internet policy must contain terms that transfer rights to the organization or conditions that protect against disparagement through such accounts during employment and after the worker leaves.

Overview

Utilizing social media for promotional purposes for your company can be quite useful to your brand, but it may also result in legal obligations if a systematic approach isn’t applied. You should devise a strategy together with all the aforementioned legal dangers in your mind and discuss these issues with your employees and partners to ensure that everyone is aware of what’s acceptable. Sometimes it may slow down the rate at which promotions are made and executed through social networking, but it is going to help to protect the company against making a costly error that causes both legal accountability and standing issues throughout your social network.