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 clothing) has the power to revolutionize this push/pull dynamic. Continue reading
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 them on the red carpet, in commercials, and on runways. As their numbers become more widespread and controversies settle over fake engagements and followers, virtual influencers have entered the market and are set to transform the influencer industry. Continue reading
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 discovery (e.g., when the parties participate in a Belaire-West notice process to employees). Continue reading
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
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
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
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
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 in a search for social media popularity. Continue reading
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a field of computer science referring to intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans. Social media platforms use artificial intelligence technologies such as natural language processing to understand text data, and image processing for facial recognition.
In some instances, regulation tries to create a “legal” definition of AI. For example, a law requiring disclosure of chat bots defines “bot” as “an automated online account where all or substantially all of the actions or posts of that account are not the result of a person.” Article 22 of GDPR provides for the right not to be subject to a decision based solely on “automated processing, including profiling” with legal or significant impact. AI laws also refer to driverless vehicles. These legal definitions of AI determine whether the law applies to the particular AI process or system. Continue reading