Update: social media and the Anti-Terrorism Act

We have previously written about the United States District Court for the Northern District of California’s (the “District Court”) dismissal of the plaintiffs’ complaint in Fields v. Twitter, Inc. We are back to provide an update after the case made its way to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (the “Appellate Court”). The Appellate Court filed an Opinion on January 31, 2018, in which it affirmed the District Court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims. Continue reading

Exposed! How to combat the sharing of harmful content on social media

Online video celebrity Chrissy Chambers has recently settled a case against her ex-partner for damages suffered as a result of his posting sexually explicit video clips online.  The terms of the settlement are confidential but this and several other high-profile cases have generated much publicity around social media platforms’ responsibility to monitor and remove harmful or abusive content.

Content can be harmful in a number of ways, such as cyberbullying, threats of violence, hate speech and even “revenge porn” (the sharing, usually on a public platform, of intimate photos or videos of a person without their consent).

Corporate reputations are delicate things and employees can be your best ambassadors, but they can also be your worst. Immediate action must be taken to see that offending material is taken down and that the offending employee is appropriately dealt with. Being seen to tolerate harmful content (or even such things as breach of copyright) is bad for business, perhaps very bad. Continue reading

Social Media, Breach of Contract, and Specific Performance

On December 20, 2017, a federal court case demonstrated how some of his own negative social media postings prevented a plaintiff from receiving the contract remedies he sought. (Luten v. R&M Performance, Inc., Civ. No. 17-02723-JMC (D. Md. Dec. 20, 2017) (2017 WL 6508994). Continue reading

LinkedIn’s Updated Terms of Service Aim to Increase Profile Visibility and Sharing

In 2017, LinkedIn made several updates to its Terms of Service – comprised of its Privacy Policy and User Agreement – to provide for new LinkedIn features and give users some choices over how their information is used.

In general, the changes revolve around new features that are intended to increase profile visibility and make it easier for users to share and connect with each other. LinkedIn permits users to opt in or out of these features to accommodate individual privacy preferences. Continue reading

Opportunity for artificial intelligence stakeholders to shape the Canada Copyright Act

Social media depends on digital technology, and the Canadian government has begun a review of Canada’s Copyright Act and provided an opportunity for public comment.

Government is reviewing the Canada Copyright Act for currency with digital technology

On December 14, 2017, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada announced that Parliament will undertake a review of Canada’s Copyright Act. Reviews of the Act are required every five years.  An important goal is keep Canada’s copyright framework current in light of rapidly evolving digital technology. Continue reading

Snap out of it: the resurrection of “self-destructing” social media evidence

In December of 2017, a UK inmate was freed after years in prison when deleted social media messages disproved the allegations against him.

Danny Kay was accused of rape in 2013. A key piece of evidence was a social media conversation between Kay and his accuser, in which he appeared to be apologizing for nonconsensual sex. Kay maintained that the conversation shown to the jury was incomplete, but he believed the full conversation had been deleted and could not be retrieved. Fortunately for him, a fellow inmate convinced Kay that the conversation could be recovered. Kay’s sister-in-law logged in to his account and found an archived version of the messages in just a few minutes. Mr. Kay challenged his conviction, which the Court of Appeal in London overturned, finding that the full exchange supported Mr. Kay’s version of the story. Continue reading

A Safer Internet in the UK – but what is the burden for technology companies?

The UK government, like many others, is pushing for a safer Internet. Prompted by the global trend in cyber-bullying and online offensive material/trolling, the UK has taken steps to address Internet safety with the stated aim of being the safest place in the world to be online. We recently reported on the measured taken in Germany. Continue reading

How anonymous can you be on social media?

In November of 2017, a federal appeals court rejected employment-related site Glassdoor’s claim that its users had a First Amendment right to anonymity that would protect their information from disclosure pursuant to a grand jury subpoena. The panel also sustained a contempt order that was entered by the district court to enforce the decision.  (In re Grand Jury Subpoena, No. 16-03-217, Civ. No. 17-16221, D.C.No. 2:17-mc-00036-DJH (9th Cir. Nov. 8, 2017)).  (We had previously covered an unrelated case involving anonymity of reviews on Glassdoor.com posted by former employees here.) Continue reading

German law on hate speech – complaint procedures

The German law on hate speech (Network Enforcement ActNetzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz) which came into effect on October 1, 2017 is continuously subject to criticism. Its legal and political implications in regard of the current global debate on the dealing with different opinions, the power and influence of social media on information and disinformation and its place in the context of an increasing fragmentation of the internet are widely discussed throughout media (i.e. see our posts here and here).

Since January 1, 2018, social media providers are now obliged to maintain a procedure for complaints. This procedure forms a core element of the law, as the obligation on the social media provider to delete unlawful content and the time period for deletion are triggered by the receipt of a complaint. Continue reading

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