Topic: Fraud

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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

Are your social media followers/fans/members authentic?

We have previously written on social media account verification for businesses, in order to help customers deal only with the authentic brand.  But what about authenticating your social media followers/users/fans/members?

Unfortunately, there are currently “no methodologies available that would provide us with an exact number of non-actual member types of accounts,” according to LinkedIn’s 10-K filing for 2015.  (10-K at 18.)  LinkedIn goes on to state that some of its “non-actual member types of accounts” are:  … Continue Reading

Authentication on social media platforms

Engaging with customers online is quickly becoming the norm as consumers increasingly use social media to ask questions, seek customer service, and participate in dialogue with a business or their brand. The use of social media to deliver customer service allows businesses to be at the forefront of our digital age. That said, businesses could be doing more to protect their brands, credibility and accountability over their various social media accounts. Namely, in building or maintaining trust with customers over online communications, businesses must find ways to help customers know they are engaging with the business’ legitimate social media account.… Continue Reading

We’re back, with our top five social media stories of 2015

The Social Media Law Bulletin is back!We’re back, with our top five social media stories of 2015

The ongoing interest of our readers as well as the increasing impact of social media led us to re-launch the Social Media Law Bulletin. We will be bringing you coverage of one or two items approximately each week, but in the meantime, we thought we would give you a brief summary of some of the most significant social media stories from 2015:

Schrems v Facebook

Facebook earned the top spot in our social media impact list, due to a court ruling that only indirectly affected it. In October 6, 2015, the European Court … Continue Reading

Yelp!’s Strategy for Attacking Fake Reviews: Lawsuit

Business owners using online consumer review platforms should be truthful and accurate, especially with respect to online reviews.

On August 20, 2013, social media search-and-review service Yelp! sued solo practitioner Julian McMillan for allegedly posting fake reviews about his own law firm. Yelp claimed that in 2010, employees from McMillan’s firm posted positive reviews of the law firm, and that some of these posts originated from his office building. Yelp further alleged that McMillan was one member of a group of local attorneys engaged in the practice of posting positive reviews of one another’s firms.

The Complaint, in part, reads:… Continue Reading

Paid Reviews Continue to Generate Headlines

As commerce shifts to online shopping and consumers increasingly rely on user reviews, some researchers are predicting that by year end 10-15% of consumer reviews will actually be fake reviews (either positive or negative) paid for by advertisers or their agents. Gartner Says By 2014, 10-15 Percent of Social Media Reviews to Be Fake, Paid for By Companies, Gartner.com, September 17, 2012.

“With over half of the Internet’s population on social networks, organizations are scrambling for new ways to build bigger follower bases, generate more hits on videos, garner more positive reviews than their competitors and solicit ‘likes’ on … Continue Reading

Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”), 18 U.S.C. § 1030 et seq., projects the common law tort of real property trespass into the virtual realm of computers.

The CFAA has been successfully invoked for creation of fake user accounts on social network sites, email spam, email phishing, robotic data mining, and unauthorized hard-drive wiping.  In effect, the CFAA prohibits the following:

  1. Unauthorized access or exceeding access of a government computer, financial institution computer, or computer designated as containing restricted data for national defense or foreign relations.  § 1030(a)(1)-(a)(3).
  2. Unauthorized access or exceeding access of a protected computer with
Continue Reading
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