Twitter is testing a new safety feature aimed at reducing unwanted interactions. As explained in a Twitter Safety blog on 1 September 2021, Safety Mode temporarily blocks accounts (Author Accounts) found by Twitter’s artificial intelligence (AI) to be sending harmful or uninvited Tweets to a user (User). Author Accounts may be automatically blocked from interacting with a User who has activated this feature if the messages from those Author Accounts use potentially harmful language (like insults) or send repetitive uninvited replies or mentions, unless the User already follows or frequently interacts with those Author Accounts. Auto-blocked … Continue Reading
Social media contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways have grown increasingly popular in the past few years and have become a common marketing strategy for businesses. From “like and share this post” to “tag five friends for extra entries,” contests allow businesses to promote their brand, generate leads, and engage with current and new customers. While it may be fun and games for the entrants, businesses need to be mindful of the rules regulating promotional contests.… Continue Reading
As the telemedicine industry continues to grow, especially in light of COVID-19, businesses should reconsider their policies and procedures in connection with telehealth services and user safety.
Notably, Facebook recently responded to the growing use of telemedicine by amending its policies with respect to advertisements by telemedicine companies for prescription drugs. The new policy, which according to Facebook is intended to ban the promotion of illicit drugs and unsafe substances, goes into effect on August 25, 2021.… Continue Reading
In late June of 2021, Members of Canada’s Parliament passed Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts. The Bill proposes to subject social media platforms and streaming services, collectively described in the Bill as ‘online undertakings’, to requirements similar to those imposed on traditional television and radio broadcasting companies in Canada. For example, this proposal could include requiring these companies to contribute financially to the production of Canadian cultural industries. The proposed changes aim to harness the explosive popularity of social media and streaming sites to support … Continue Reading
As influencer marketing skyrockets in importance, social media companies have taken steps to make their platforms more attractive to this new wave of advertising. One way of making platforms attractive to both users and creators is to keep the platforms free of negativity. Negativity on social media has been a major reason for users to abandon sites and can make creators hesitant to use platforms where they do not feel supported. Additionally, 2020 saw many headlines regarding misinformation, hate-speech, and lack of moderation. As advertisers boycotted platforms and calls for action grew louder, social media platforms began to look for … Continue Reading
On May 4, 2021, the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s judgment for Snap, Inc., owner of the mobile application Snapchat, in a case brought by the parents of two teenage boys tragically killed in a car accident. The parents claimed that Snap, Inc. caused the death of their sons through its negligent design of Snapchat. They claimed that that their sons were encouraged to drive at dangerously high speeds by a Snapchat filter which purports to show the user’s real-time speed (the “Speed Filter”). The boys in this case drove at speeds reaching 123 miles per hour and eventually … Continue Reading
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ended the legal battle between former President Donald Trump and individuals whom Mr. Trump had blocked on Twitter, by granting the government’s petition for a writ of certiorari filed when Mr. Trump was still the President, vacating the Second Circuit’s judgment against Mr. Trump, and remanding the case with instructions to dismiss the matter as moot. See Biden v. Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, et al., 593 U.S. __ (2021).
The legal discussions offered in this case may be significant for future disputes concerning speech made on interactive online venues made … Continue Reading
In the last week of March 2021, a bill was introduced in the California assembly that would require social media platforms to publicly disclose the specific user conduct that will get users temporarily or permanently banned from those sites—including online hate, disinformation, extremism, harassment, and foreign interference.… Continue Reading
In recent posts, we have discussed how employee social media use may subject California companies to liability for defamation. Now, a recent California court of appeals case found that social media conduct by out-of-state users was sufficient to establish personal jurisdiction in California courts. … Continue Reading
Given all the recent headlines about data theft as well as a resurgence of interest in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), a December 18, 2020 ruling from a federal trial court in Colorado may be of interest to our readers. MCS Safety Solutions, LLC v. Trivent Safety Consulting, LLC, No. 19-cv-00938-MEH (D. Colo. Dec. 18, 2020) (2020 WL 7425874).… Continue Reading
Social media platforms have revolutionized the way people receive and deliver their news and information. Industry players, legislators, and consumers of social media have all had to adapt to this new medium of speech. While having the permanence and public nature of traditional forms of news, such as newspapers, social media posts are not subject to the same kinds of editorial review and control. The sheer volume and pace of social media posts has made it impractical for social media companies to maintain a similar amount of content review as newspapers or television broadcasts.
Although this new environment has provided … Continue Reading
Social media influencer marketing that misleads the public is on the Canadian Competition Bureau’s (the Bureau’s) list of key priorities for the foreseeable future. Brands and marketing agencies that work with influencers (as well as influencers themselves) should abide by best practices to reduce the risks of getting wrapped up in a Bureau investigation for misleading advertising. You can read the full client briefing here.
There seem to be a lot of questions lately about the use of photographs on social media, so a recent federal court case may be of interest in raising some risks you may not have contemplated. The case involves some photos that professional models had posted to their social media pages, which they alleged had been copied and altered by a nightclub to make it appear that they worked at or endorsed the nightclub. (Moreland v. Beso Lounge & Restaurant LLC, case no. 3:19-cv-00958 (VLB) (D. Conn. Sept. 4, 2020) (2020 WL 5302312).)… Continue Reading
On June 17, 2020, the Southern District of New York issued an opinion and order in a complex matter between a social media gaming celebrity and a contract he signed with an esports and entertainment company. (Faze Clan, Inc., v. Tenney, 19-cv-7200 (JSR) (S.D.N.Y. July 17, 2020) (2020 WL 3318209).)… Continue Reading
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to adjust our usual work-life balance. Rather than maintaining the strict division between home and office, individuals have adapted to a new hybrid lifestyle, combining all under one roof. This new lifestyle has afforded many people with additional free time that would otherwise be spent commuting to the office. Unsurprisingly, people are choosing to use this free time to browse their favourite social media platforms. In Q1 of 2020, daily time spent in apps increased 20% on Android devices in comparison to last year.… Continue Reading
As the world struggles to move forward, our thoughts and support are with our readers and we hope for their good health and improving situations.
Today’s post involves an FTC settlement that was announced just as New York was going into “lockdown” mode and so we wanted to make sure it did not escape your attention. In March of 2020, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement of its federal court complaint against a company that the FTC alleged made unsubstantiated health claims for its teas and skincare products—and used celebrity social media influencers whose endorsements did not … Continue Reading
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
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
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
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 … Continue Reading
How important are online reviews in your shopping experience? Many rely heavily on consumer reviews in order to generate business. But what happens when instead of providing customers the candid information that they deserve, companies try to silence their critics in order to improve their online reputation?
In recent years, companies selling products and services have included non-disparagement clauses (“gag clauses”) in their contracts in hopes of curtailing online criticism. Gag clauses are aimed at discouraging customers from writing honest reviews that criticize the company—and punished customers for their negative reviews in the form of liquidated damages. The problem is … Continue Reading
On April 10, 2019, a Texas federal judge granted Sparrow Barns & Events an emergency temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction in a trade dress and copyright infringement case, preventing defendant Ruth Farm from advertising its venue rental business on social media and the internet. Sparrow Barns & Events, LLC v. Ruth Farm Inc., No. 4:19-CV-00067 (E. D. Tex. Apr. 10, 2019) (2019 WL 1560442).)… Continue Reading
Last week, the UK Home Secretary unveiled tough new plans to regulate social media platforms in the White Paper ‘Online Harms’ (the Paper). The Paper sets out a regulatory framework to tackle illegal and harmful online activity, in a flagship move which will require careful attention from social media platforms operating in the UK.… Continue Reading
Influencer marketing is increasing in popularity in Canada and can be an effective way to promote your brand. Influencers are online personalities that use social media to share their expertise and opinion about products or brands with their followers. In order to tap into the influencer’s network, businesses pay or otherwise compensate influencers to share content that features their products or brand. Influencer marketing comes in all shapes and sizes. For example, it includes a social media model promoting a certain brand of makeup or an athlete recommending a particular piece of workout gear. Recently, even the Government of Canada… Continue Reading