(Virtual) house rules: Things to know for Houseparty hangouts

Houseparty, the group video chat app that allows users to interact in “rooms”, is unsurprisingly becoming one of the most popular social media platforms in the current global environment. Distinguishing features are: (i) the ability to move between chat sessions happening simultaneously in other rooms; and (ii) the ability to play party games while chatting, which is a welcome distraction from the more serious conversation topics that tend to dominate our interactions at the moment!… Continue Reading

Court rules that reasonable expectation of privacy exists in social media users’ internet browsing data

Social media users may have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their internet browsing data, according to a recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Court.

Users of a social media platform brought a class action against its owner, alleging that the company tracked users’ browsing histories when they visited third-party websites, and then compiled those browsing histories into personal profiles which were sold to advertisers to generate revenue. The company did not dispute that it engaged in these tracking practices even after its users had logged out of the site. Plaintiffs complaint alleged, … Continue Reading

Wearing out privacy: wearable technology revolutionizing social media marketing

Social media has made sharing personal and professional updates easy and, in most cases, highly targeted. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as the proliferation of new social media platforms have created a window into the lives of those who are active on these platforms. One of the biggest tensions created by social media is that, while businesses are constantly looking for metrics and strategies that will enable them to advertise their content to the user at the most opportune moment, individuals seek to cut down on their social media consumption. The rise of wearable technology (e.g. smartwatches or technology-embedded … Continue Reading

Pixels + Social Media Influencers – Authenticity = Virtual Influencers

Social media influencer marketing has had a significant impact in the way brands reach consumers worldwide. Social media influencers are very important to platforms such as YouTube and Instagram and even more so to brands. As independent contractors, social media influencers garner more outreach than any company’s advertising team could ever hope to accomplish. From engagements like brand awareness and product placement and “authentic reviews,” according to Business Insider, the influencer marketing industry is expected to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022—up from $8 billion in 2019. Influencers, once a niche group, are now everywhere—we can spot … Continue Reading

Parties May Provide Notice to Class Members Through Social Media

With the prevalence of employment and labor class action lawsuits, particularly those based on alleged wage and hour violations, the nuances of defending those suits and administering potential settlements are paramount to California employers. One lesser-discussed feature of the class action process is the notice requirement to class members. Throughout the lifespan of the action, potential and actual class members must receive notice at a number of pivotal stages. These stages include, of course, those events closer to the end of the action such as proposed settlements and settlement distributions, but the notice issue can also arise relatively early in … Continue Reading

Solar Energy, Trade Secrets, and Unfair Competition

On January 13, 2020, a solar energy sales lead generation company settled a federal lawsuit against several defendants, including a former employee. Both the initial complaint and settlement described the important role of social media to the business. (Solar Connect, LLC v. Endicott, Case No. 2:17-cv-01235 (D. Utah Jan. 13, 2020) (stipulated permanent injunction).… Continue Reading

Is court anonymization enough in the era of social media and big data?

In the age of social media, are court procedures enough to protect vulnerable parties subject to a publication ban? In a recent article, researchers at the University of Zurich were able to re-identify parties in 84% of judgments studied (the Zurich Study).… Continue Reading

Social media influencers and FTC disclosures

On November 4, 2019, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) issued guidance for social media influencers to help them comply with FTC requirements relating to endorsements and disclosures. We have previously covered FTC action and guidance (including advisory letters) in this area, but the FTC has refined and updated its advice a bit:… Continue Reading

Federal District Court in California finds favoring younger, “social media savvy” employees may constitute age-based harassment

In recent posts, we have discussed how social media use and the enforcement of social media policies can have major implications in wage and hour lawsuits against U.S. employers. Now, a recent case in U.S. District Court in California suggests that social media can also play a role in discrimination suits.… Continue Reading

Deception sells: The current theme in the age of social media

In this age of social media, companies and brands have faced countless criticisms for their lack of transparency, copyright infringements disguised in the form of “flattery or inspiration” and we can’t forget the many inclusivity flops.

Brands, including beauty brands, are now dedicating more of their marketing budgets to paying influencers for their “honest” reviews in hopes that they can convince the public to purchase their products. What’s more striking is that consumers are heavily relying on social media for help in determining where to place their value and money. With these stakes, some companies have turned to deceptive practices … Continue Reading

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