Tag archives: Facebook

Social media: life after death?

Have you considered what you would like to happen to your social media accounts when you die? Where the platform gives you options, have you selected one? A while ago we wrote about what happens to your social media account when you die.

Many platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn have different policies about what will happen to a deceased person’s profile. Since our last post, some of these policies have changed. Here is the current status as of the date of this post:… Continue Reading

New German Law on Hate Speech on Social Media

June of 2017 ended with the German parliament approving the bill targeted at eliminating hate speech and fake news on social media, including on Facebook, YouTube, and Google. The law will take effect in October of 2017, and could carry fines up to EUR 50 million.

We previously discussed the bill on this blog post.  Now that the bill has been passed into law, social media companies are required to remove illegal hate speech within 24 hours after receiving notification or a complaint, and to block other offensive content within seven days.  The law also requires social media companies to … 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

Private social media posts can get you kicked out of university and worse

Each year Harvard University, one of the world’s most prestigious universities, receives over 30,000 applications from prospective students for about 2,000 places in its first year class. Recently, ten of those successful applicants, due to graduate in 2021, had their offers of admission revoked before they set foot onto campus.  The reason?  The content of the offensive memes they had shared on a private Facebook group, which at one stage had been named “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens”.… Continue Reading

Germany considers € 50 million fines for social media sites failing to remove hate speech

The German Justice Ministry has introduced a draft law that would impose fines of up to €50 million on social media companies that fail to remove hate speech and other illegal content from their platforms quickly.

The fines would be imposed whenever social media companies do not remove online threats, hate speech, or slanderous fake news. Any obviously illegal content would have to be deleted within 24 hours; reported material that is later determined to be illegal would have to be removed within seven days.… Continue Reading

Who is Fact Checking the Fact Checkers?

With the proliferation of so-called “fake news”, companies are starting to rely on third party organizations to perform a “fact checking” function in order to distinguish between legitimate news and fake news. The fake news epidemic gained traction in the recent US presidential election.  We have previously written about the fake news problem, as well as the UK Government’s plan to tackle the issue.

While fake news began as false information disguised as legitimate news sources, the problem with fake news and the question as to what constitutes fake news is becoming more complicated and nuanced. … Continue Reading

Facebook’s California Choice-of-Law Provision Rules the Day

On January 9, 2017, the Northern District of California granted Facebook’s motion to dismiss for claims brought under New Jersey’s Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty, and Notice Act (“the TCCWNA”). In Palomino v. Facebook, Inc., a putative class of New Jersey residents challenged Facebook’s Terms of Service, which, among other provisions, require users to waive potential claims for misconduct such as deceptive and fraudulent practices. Plaintiffs argued that this violated two provisions of the TCCWNA that prohibit such waivers.  The case was resolved before advancing to the merits.… Continue Reading

Fact Or Fiction: The Fake News Problem

In the few months leading up to the United States election, social media was flooded with articles with sensationalized titles and incendiary content. Many of these “news” stories were fake. They were written for the purpose of swaying public opinion or generating a profit from ad revenue and were often published by sham entities or news websites. Large, popular companies may be the next targets, so this post will describe a few actions companies could take.… Continue Reading

Serving up lawsuits via Facebook: social media provides creative solution under Federal Rules

Service of process on a foreign defendant can be a major headache for U.S. plaintiffs, but social media is proving to be a creative solution when traditional methods have been demonstrated to fail.

We previously covered a New York federal court’s ruling that permitted the Federal Trade Commission to serve the Indian defendants, operating under the name PCcare, by email and Facebook. We also discussed a Kansas federal court’s ruling that denied service via Facebook as the sole means of service.

Since our last update, a federal trial court in Virginia has ruled in favor of allowing service by social … Continue Reading

You’re Uninvited: Managing Unauthorized Third Party Access

Most people would not bring along a group of uninvited strangers to a dinner party or, even worse, a wedding. Society has certain expectations around attendance, guest lists, RSVPs, and the like.  And yet, in the digital realm, these social norms may not have the same effect.   What can be done about digital party crashers?  In particular, how can the owner of a social network ward off competitors who seek access to network content by riding users’ coattails?… 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

What’s In Your Terms of Service?

Social media platforms often require users to agree to Terms of Service or Terms of Use (“TOS”) to use the platform. These contracts can be lengthy and many social media users may not read them in their entirety before agreeing and proceeding to use the platform. This can raise particular issues in contract law, especially about the legal enforceability of the provisions.

The legal enforceability of TOS provisions is relevant to both social media users and app developers. Individuals or businesses who use social media should consider how the TOS affect their legal rights and obligations, especially regarding privacy and … Continue Reading

Social Media Property Rights

The number of people using social media these days is staggering. For instance, Facebook has 1.65 billion monthly active users as of March 31, 2016. As such, the ability to reach such a broad consumer base through social media is becoming increasingly important to businesses. Companies are no doubt eager to create social media pages that generate “followers” and “likes” that may, in turn, generate profits. As the number of “followers” and “likes” of a page increase, so do potential issues surrounding ownership of these aspects of social media pages.… Continue Reading

Facebook wins privacy case on tracking logged-out users

Facebook has won an appeal against a Belgian court ruling, which ordered it to stop tracking logged-out users who visit Facebook pages and other websites linked to Facebook.

On 29 June 2016 the Brussels Court of Appeal held that the Belgian data protection authority (the Belgian Privacy Commission), which brought the original case, does not have jurisdiction over Facebook’s operations in Ireland, where the data is actually processed.… Continue Reading

German competition authorities initiate proceeding against Facebook

Facebook became the latest American technology company to face antitrust hurdles in Europe after the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt), a competition authority, opened an investigation into whether Facebook Inc., USA, Facebook Ireland Limited and Facebook Germany GmbH abused their alleged dominant position in social networking by violating data protection laws. Accordingly, unlike other proceedings the Cartel Office’s investigation targeting Facebook is for the first time based on the potential invalidity of its terms of use pursuant to German data privacy laws.… Continue Reading

Liability for friends’ defamatory statements

Liability for third-party defamatory comments on one’s personal account, whether on Facebook or another internet-based platform, is an emerging legal issue in Canadian law.

If a social media “friend” posts defamatory statements about another person on your profile, or other site, can you be personally liable to the defamed person? Do you have any obligation to actively monitor your social media existence in the face of such statements?  Are you liable for third party statements that you may not even be aware of? … Continue Reading

Facebook “like” button violates privacy laws

On 9 March 2016 the Düsseldorf Regional Court in Germany ruled that an online shopping site, Peek & Cloppenburg, which integrated Facebook’s “like” button into its website had violated users’ privacy rights.

How the “like” button works

The button allows website users who click on it to share instantly the pages and content from the website on their Facebook profiles. This technology is a rapidly-growing marketing tool.… 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 users responsible for comments

The High Court of South Africa ruled in Isparta v Richter that a Facebook user was guilty of defamation because a defamatory post appeared on his Facebook wall and was not removed by him, even though he was not the author of the post.  The court ruled that because he knew of the post and “allowed his name to be coupled” with the author, he was as liable as the author.… Continue Reading

Crowdfunding: Advertising an offering’s terms on social media

Background

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted the final rules of Regulation Crowdfunding (the “Regulation”) on October 30, 2015. While the final rules have been adopted, they do not become effective until May 16, 2016. The Regulation is meant to expound upon Sections 4(a)(6) and 4A of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Act”), both of which provide limited exemptions from registering securities under the Act when a company sells securities by crowdfunding. Crowdfunding occurs when a large group of investors combines resources to support a third party’s efforts to reach a goal. Crowdfunding activities have become more popular … Continue Reading

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