The Legal Ins & Outs of Social Media

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Margaret M. DiBianca
Associate
Young Conaway Starrgat & Taylor, LLP
mdibianca@ycst.com
p 302.571.5008
f 302.576.3476
Wilmington, DE

It was such a pleasure meeting Margaret Molly DiBianca – who came out to speak about the legal matters of social media. DiBianca is a legal consultant for Delaware employers and runs an award winning blog – The Delaware Employment Law Blog.

What I learned?

Did you know that there is no such thing as free speech in the workplace? I definitely did not know that!!! Or that there are three types of claims people can file?

1. Constitutional (Government)

2. Statutory – written law

3. Common –  judge-made also a tort.

Did you know that when you publish ANYTHING – you relinquish your right to privacy? This one blew me out of the water – and its good to know, especially being a Digital Marketing Professional. Once this right is forfeited, you have no claim to invasion of privacy, even if the information goes beyond your scope of expectation (viral). Once the information is somewhere that the public can easily gain access, there’s no reasonable expectation of privacy (meaning, you can reasonably argue that your information was guarded and was forced upon or stolen) – there’s nothing you can do!

Last but not least, we spoke about defamation and the difference between slander (spoken) and libel (written). The hardest defamation cases to prove are “slanderous” ones; unless you’re a celebrity or some other famous influencer – so these cases are rare. Did you know that libel on Twitter is called Twibel in the legal world? Who would have thought!

Just like any other industry, social media does not exempt us from being accountable or responsible for our actions when it comes to what we publish. I always advise my clients to think, before you post; because once its out there, that’s it!

I hate to see the “idiotic” apologies that come after posts are virally placed – and now feet are in the mouths – as now, they risk losing everything, all because they decided to speak (post) in the heat of the moment! Celebrity breakups come to mind!

My biggest tip:

  1. Keep your personal business off of social media platforms.
  2. If you are using someone else’s artwork, CREDIT your sources, and link out to their site whenever possible.
  3. And please, please, please, if you receive a “take down notice” for any reason, TAKE IT DOWN! This solves 99.9% of all issues.
  4. Have guidelines and policies in place before taking to any platform –  to put yourself out there! These plans are created to protect the entity and parties involved. They are the vital backbone of any successful social media campaign!