Topic: Social media policies

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Social Media Activity Used as Evidence of Employees Violating Cell Phone Policy

In an August 1, 2019 post titled “Without Proper Enforcement, Even the Strongest Social Media Policies May Not Protect Employers,” we discussed how enforcement of corporate social media policies was paramount to protecting employers from liability stemming from employee violations of that policy. That post discussed how employers must take care not only to formulate comprehensive social media policies, but also to provide thorough training and ensure rigorous enforcement of those policies to its employees and managers.

In keeping with that theme, this article examines a specific illustration of the importance of maintaining and enforcing corporate social media … Continue Reading

Without proper enforcement, even the strongest social media policies may not protect employers

In a March 8, 2019 post titled “New California laws may require review of social media policies,” we explored how a host of new California laws would require a close review and revision of corporate social media policies.

That post discussed the role social media policies play in helping employers sidestep legal landmines by preventing wage and hour violations, unauthorized disclosure of the company’s trade secrets and other confidential information, violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act arising from an employee’s promotion of company products, infringement of third party intellectual property rights, employee harassment, and privacy violations.

Equally … Continue Reading

New California laws may require review of social media policies

The use of social media by employees is as fraught as it is widespread, and creates tremendous legal risk for the employer. Indeed, employers are wise to require adherence to a thorough policy regarding employee use of social media both inside and outside of work. The best policies will aim to sidestep potential legal landmines by preventing unauthorized disclosure of the company’s trade secrets and other confidential information, violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act arising from an employee’s promotion of company products, infringement of third party intellectual property rights, employee harassment, and privacy violations.… Continue Reading

NLRB issues new guidance on employer policies

In the wake of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision in The Boeing Company, 365 NLRB No. 154 (Dec. 14, 2017), the NLRB has recently issued new guidance regarding employee handbook rules. The NLRB’s guidance can be found here.

In Boeing, the Board overturned its old standard, under which an employer rule violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) if a worker could “reasonably construe” it to interfere with the right to engage in protected concerted activity. Under the new standard adopted by the Board, an employer rule will only violate the NLRA if it would Continue Reading

The #MeToo Movement: When Employees Take Their Complaints to Social Media

As we are all aware, the news has been populated with stories concerning allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, particularly in the entertainment and media industries as well as government institutions. These stories have contributed to the “#MeToo” movement, which originated on Twitter and other social media websites in late 2017 and has since become a widespread message on social media encouraging individuals to share their stories and speak out against sexual harassment and abuse.  Although its purposes are laudable, the #MeToo movement is a touchy subject for employers, who ever-more-frequently find themselves accused of sexual harassment or other misconduct … 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 to use social media – and the consequences if you step out of line

In South Africa, employees are under the mistaken belief that what they do in their time away from the office, specifically on social media, is private and beyond the reach of their employer’s control.

They fail to consider that they could face disciplinary action for their online rants and comments. This could be fatal to their employment. The reality is that with the escalating use of social media during working hours as well as outside of company time, employees are regularly coming under fire for what they post online.… Continue Reading

Chatbots: Some Legal Issues

What is a chatbot?  Essentially it is a computer program which simulates human behaviour online, including on social media. Chatbots are not a new concept but are becoming increasingly sophisticated in what they can do and how closely they can mimic human behaviour online, such that they are increasingly replacing humans in populating social media for organisations.

Chatbots are widely used by corporations to stimulate conversation, promote products/services, increase consumer engagement and generally enhance the user experience. For example, RBS has announced an intent to launch a chatbot “Luvo” to help its customers with more straightforward queries; H&M has a … Continue Reading

Use of Twitter to Broadcast Courtroom Proceedings

In 2017, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications (the “Commission”) issued an advisory opinion that the conveyance of information via microblogging platforms, such as Twitter, does not constitute prohibited “broadcasting” under Rule 2.17 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. Under Rule 2.17, judges are required to prohibit the broadcasting of courtroom proceedings to the public except under a narrow set of circumstances. Although this issue may seem geographically limited at first glance, courts and commissions around the country are considering this issue as microblogging activity becomes more prevalent.… Continue Reading

NLRB Reviews and Approves Northwestern University’s Revised Football Handbook Social Media Policy

On January 1, 2017, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) released an advice memorandum (dated September 22, 2016) that reviewed and approved Northwestern University’s revised Football Handbook’s social media policy. The NLRB Office of the General Counsel, which prepared the advice memorandum, was asked to advise whether the university’s Football Handbook policies, including its social media policy, were lawful.… Continue Reading

Asking employee to delete Twitter posts can be unlawful

On March 14, 2016, the popular chain, Chipotle Mexican Grill, was found to have violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) when it asked an employee to delete posts on his Twitter account about the company.

Specifically, in Chipotle Services LLC d/b/a Chipotle Mexican Grill and Pennsylvania Workers Organizing Committee, a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) administrative law judge determined that  that the employee’s “tweets” constituted protected activity.… Continue Reading

Social media overload

The explosion of social media in the past decade has caused a major shift in the way we conduct our affairs. In particular, businesses have been required to adapt to new ways of communicating with their clients.  At a rate of thousands of social media applications surfacing each month, and new legal issues surrounding the use of social media, it can feel overwhelming, especially for new businesses. … Continue Reading

Social media stars and IP empires

Social media platforms enable users to profit from their brand and original works such as photos, videos, articles and various “mash ups”. Their brand and content may be protected by trademarks and copyrights and users may generate thousands of postings to build an extensive intellectual property portfolio. A user may develop a popular brand for their curated content across multiple platforms such as web, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, with their creative posts generating significant goodwill and revenue. Companies pay popular users to reach target audiences instantaneously and effectively with authentic content of pictures, videos, blogs and other derivative works. This … Continue Reading

UK MPs consider social media terms & conditions too complex

A recent report by the Science and Technology Committee (a UK parliamentary select committee) on the Responsible Use of Data (the Report) concludes that online terms and conditions for the use of social media platforms are unnecessarily complex and may not serve their intended purpose of obtaining informed consent from a user for the right to process personal data.… Continue Reading

The “Uber” rise of peer-to-peer sharing

Social media has changed the way we do business by connecting us online to buy goods and services from each other. This has resulted in the rise of “peer-to-peer” sharing apps and websites that connect people to share goods and services, such as transportation and accommodation, among other things. Companies that create these apps – such as Uber and Airbnb – have recently attracted considerable attention worldwide.

Just last month Uber reported a valuation of $40 billion, which is more than the current annual revenue of the taxi and limousine market. Airbnb’s reported valuation is expected to exceed $10 Continue Reading

NLRB approves social media policy disclaimer language

The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently released another advice memorandum providing enforcement guidance on employer social media policies. This time, the OGC reviewed a company social medial policy which required employees to post a specific disclaimer that they were sharing their own views and not the views of the company if they identified themselves as company employees on any website or blog.

The relevant portion of the policy stated:

If you identify yourself anywhere on a web site, blog, or text as an employee of USA . . . we require

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Navigating the world of social media apps

Social media apps and networking websites are exploding in the world of social media. Just last year, Apple announced that its Apple iOS App Store reached a landmark 40 billion downloads and 775,000 apps for its platform.[1]  Companies are taking advantage of this rise of social media apps and many of them use more than one social media site to connect with users and to advertise their services. The social media landscape is rapidly changing, and the increased time and costs in adapting to these changes has incentivized companies to manage and control their social media activity.

Third party … Continue Reading

Social media: What happens to your account when you die?

Will you instruct your executor to memorialise or close your Facebook account or will you sign up to DeadSocial to post goodbye messages posthumously? The US government has created guidelines for dealing with your digital afterlife. It also provides a template social media will. The US government’s first guideline is to read the terms and privacy policies of the various social media websites. Let us break it down for you…

Twitter:

  • Will deactivate a deceased’s account on request by a person authorised to act on behalf of the estate or by a verified immediate family member.
  • Requires the following information
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Snapchat and Maryland Attorney General

We had previously written about the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s proposed complaint and consent with mobile messaging service Snapchat, best known for promoting its “ephemeral” photo messaging site. The FTC alleged the Snapchat violated the Federal Trade Commission Act through six false or deceptive acts or practices, including Snapchat’s claim that messages can “disappear forever.” Under the proposed FTC consent, Snapchat does not admit or deny any liability. If approved and to settle the matter, Snapchat would be:

  • Prohibited from misrepresenting its products and services and treatment of personal information, or their privacy and security; and
  • Required to implement a
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Employer potentially liable for disability discrimina-tion after facebook comment

On June 23, 2014, in Shoun v. Best Formed Plastics, a federal judge declined to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the plaintiff’s former employer, Best Formed Plastics, violated the Americans With Disabilities Act after it wrongfully disclosed his confidential medical information via a Facebook post.

While employed at Best, the plaintiff, George Shoun, spent several months away from work recovering from a shoulder injury he sustained on-the-job. An employee in Best’s human resources department handled the plaintiff’s workers’ compensation claim. Five days after Shoun filed an ADA lawsuit against Best, the human resources employee took to her personal Facebook … Continue Reading

A two pronged prescription: The FDA releases new social media guidelines

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) released two new sets of guidance regarding the use of social media to disseminate information about prescription drugs and medical devices.  This guidance supplements years of FDA warning letters and untitled letters sent to manufacturers, packers or distributors in regulated industries (each a “Regulated Entity”).  We have previously discussed the FDA letters on this blog.

In the first prong of its social media guidance, the FDA provided new “Twitter Rules.” For Internet and social media platforms with character space limitations (e.g., Twitter, Google AdWords and the paid search results links on Yahoo! and … Continue Reading

Online abuse

We have previously written about the difficulties that businesses can encounter when trying to get a posting removed from a social media site. We have also previously covered several matters relating to the special online protections legislators have created for children (e.g.COPPA).

These two areas combined in a local law passed by Albany, New York relating to cyberbullying. Bullying of children has long existed in schools, but advances in technology, including social media, have expanded both the frequency and extent of the problem. Albany addressed the issue with Albany County Local Law No. 11 of 2010, … Continue Reading

Social media: what happens when you delete your account?

When you delete your Twitter account:

  • You need to deactivate your account using your account settings.
  • Your account should be deactivated within a few minutes, but some content may be viewable for a few days.
  • Data is only retained for 30 days from date of deactivation after which it is deleted. Twitter retains its licence to use any content you post (see discussion on the licence in this post).
  • If you want to use the same username or email address on another Twitter account later, you must remember to change both before deactivation.
  • Your profile may still show up
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