Archives: Social Networking

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Live-Streaming Apps; What We Aren’t Talking About

There are many articles circulating the web about new live-streaming video technologies like Meerkat. These tremendous apps make it possible for users to stream real time video from their phone to the internet for all to view, turning every individual into a real-time video-journalist.   Brands and entertainment properties have also jumped into the fray … Continue Reading

New California Regulation Regarding Minors Is Coming: Are You Ready? Part 1 – The “Eraser Button” Provisions

A new California statute, which originated as SB 568 and will be codified as § 22580 et seq. of the Cal. Bus. & Prof Code, takes effect January 1, 2015. Given the time it may take some sites, applications and online services to determine and implement appropriate compliance steps, now is the time to start considering … Continue Reading

Pitfalls and Complications in Running a New-Media Promotion

Administering a sweepstakes or contest online can be a great way to attract traffic and engage with consumers. Not surprisingly, many companies routinely utilize sweepstakes and contests (which are referenced collectively in this article as “promotions”) as part of their overall online marketing push. Administering promotions, however, can get complicated when operating them on third-party … Continue Reading


The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CARU) routinely monitors advertising to children.  Through those monitoring efforts, CARU brings challenges against advertisers for alleged non-compliance with its Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertising and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).  In a recent case published on March 10, 2014, CARU … Continue Reading

Sweepstakes and Contests Now Easier To Run on Facebook

Yesterday (Aug. 27, 2013) Facebook updated the section of its Pages Terms applicable to administering sweepstakes and contests on Facebook (see HERE and HERE).  In essence, Facebook removed almost all of the prior restrictions they imposed.  For example, companies no longer have to run their sweepstakes or contests via an app, nor are they prohibited … Continue Reading

Arkansas Becomes Seventh State to Enact Employer Social Media Law; Questions Arise Regarding Supervisor-Employee Connections

Last week, Arkansas enacted H.B. 1901, joining California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Mexico, and Utah in restricting employer access to social media or personal accounts. A total of seven states now have such laws. New Jersey’s harsh bill, which we have covered, has cleared the Assembly and is awaiting the Governor’s signature. The Arkansas law … Continue Reading

FFIEC Social Media Guidance Public Comment Revelations

Earlier this year on January 22, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (“FFIEC”),  released for public comment proposed social media-related recommendations for financial institutions entitled, Social Media: Consumer Compliance Risk Management Guidance (the “Guidance”) which, according to the FFIEC, was designed to set the foundation for, in final form, “supervisory guidance” to the institutions the … Continue Reading

THE FTC UPDATES ITS .COM DISCLOSURES GUIDANCE — Focus on Mobile and Space-Constraints; Frowns Upon Certain Common Practices

On March 12, 2013, the FTC released its long-awaited update to its year 2000 Dot Com Disclosures guidance; a document issued to help businesses develop legally compliant online ads.  Having recognized that much has changed in online advertising since 2000, the FTC’s update focuses not only on web sites, but also on social media activities and … Continue Reading

Court Ordered Criminal Defense Lawyer to Take Down YouTube Video of Client

People v. Fulmer, — N.E.2d —, 2013 IL App (4th) 120747, 2013 WL 662250 (Ill.App. 4 Dist. February 25, 2013) A criminal defense attorney believed that video the state’s attorney gave him prior to a preliminary hearing showed police engaged in improper conduct toward his client during an undercover drug operation. After the defense attorney … Continue Reading

Defendant Not Entitled to “Delve Carte Blanche” Into Plaintiff’s Social Media Accounts

Keller v. National Farmers Union Property & Cas. Co., 2013 WL 27731 (D. Mont. January 2, 2013) A federal court in Montana has held that a plaintiff in an insurance dispute was protected from having to turn over all of her social media content to her litigation opponent. The court’s decision helps define the contours … Continue Reading

FTC Report: Mobile Apps For Kids Not Making The Grade (NOTE: Not Just A Privacy Report)

On December 10, 2012, the FTC released a follow-up to its February 2012 report on mobile apps for kids.  The February 2012 report found that little or no information was available to parents about the privacy practices of the mobile apps the FTC surveyed on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market.  The FTC’s follow-up report finds … Continue Reading

Pinterest’s Accounts and Terms of Service for Businesses and their Potential Impact on Sweepstakes, Contests, and Other Promotions

On November 14, 2012, Pinterest, Inc. revamped the Terms of Service (“Terms”) for (“Pinterest”) and created new business only accounts (“Business Accounts”) to be governed by the site’s new Business Terms of Service (“Business Terms”). Although commercial use of the service was always encouraged by Pinterest, its Acceptable Use Policy  and prior versions of … Continue Reading

Employers Must Consider Social Media Risks to Life and Limb, Not Just Pocketbook

It should be no surprise that the use of social media creates risks – legal and financial risks related to privacy and data security issues are among the most examined concerns.  But the use of social media also may create risks that can’t be valued by a dollar sign – risks to human life and … Continue Reading

Social Media Networks Seek to Control Use of Their Products Through TOS Enforcement

This is significant because in the past, platforms have utilized federal laws such as CAN-SPAM, which prohibits sending misleading electronic communications, to punish the most egregious spammers. If Twitter prevails in this lawsuit, it puts all users on notice that there is monetary liability for breaching a platform's TOS, which significantly expands the ability of a social media company to reign in prohibited activity by users. … Continue Reading

European Criticism for Google’s New Privacy Policy

Google's new privacy policy (and its plans to create user profiles across multiple online services) has drawn fire from European data protection authorities. Online and mobile retailers and service providers should take account of a renewed emphasis on transparency and proportionality in collecting data about users. … Continue Reading

The Legal Implications of Social Networking Part Three: Data Security

In 2011, InfoLawGroup began its "Legal Implications" series for social media by posting Part One (The Basics) and Part Two (Privacy). In this post (Part Three), we explore how security concerns and legal risk arise and interact in the social media environment. There are three main security-related issues that pose potential security-related legal risk. First, to the extent that employees are accessing and using social media sites from company computers (or increasingly from personal computers connected to company networks or storing sensitive company data), malware, phishing and social engineering attacks could result in security breaches and legal liability. Second, spoofing and impersonation attacks on social networks could pose legal risks. In this case, the risk includes fake fan pages or fraudulent social media personas that appear to be legitimately operated. Third, information leakage is a risk in the social media context that could result in an adverse business and legal impact when confidential information is compromised. … Continue Reading

Twitter Followers = Trade Secrets?

Phonedog v. Kravitz, currently pending in the Northern District of California, raises unprecedented issues regarding social media. Is a list of Twitter followers protected as trade secret under California law? What is the value of a Twitter follower? $2.50 per month? I discussed these questions today with Fox News. … Continue Reading

InfoLawGroup and ACE USA Social Media Risk Podcast

InfoLawGroup attorneys recently joined risk management professionals from the ACE USA, the U.S.-based retail operating division of the ACE Group, to record a companion podcast to our whitepaper  “Social Media: The Business Benefits May be Enormous, But Can the Risks – Reputational, Legal, Operational – be Mitigated?” The free podcast is available for download at … Continue Reading

Google+ Pages Allow Linking, but Not Hosting Promotions

Google+ just opened itself up for businesses and now allows entities to set up company Google+ pages. With this launch, Google announced a number of policies dictating what page owners can and cannot do on their Google+ page, including its “Contest and Promotion Policies.” These new policies outright prohibit anyone from running “contests, sweepstakes, offers, … Continue Reading

The Legal Implications of Social Networking Part Two: Privacy

As social media and networking continue to revolutionize modern-day marketing and become the norm for organizations of all types, shapes and sizes, it is even more important to adequately address the legal risks associated with social media use. In Part One of our Legal Implications series, we laid out some background and identified key areas of legal risk. In the next few posts InfoLawGroup is going to look deeper at some of these risks. In this post we explore some of the privacy legal issues that companies should address if they want to leverage social media. … Continue Reading

InfoLawGroup Attorneys Co-Author Social Media Risk Whitepaper

Building on the InfoLawGroup's depth of experience in social networking and social media, Attorneys David Navetta and Richard Santalesa have co-authored a new whitepaper with the ACE Group, a global leader in insurance and reinsurance, entitled Social Media: The Business Benefits May be Enormous, But Can the Risks - Reputational, Legal, Operational - be Mitigated? … Continue Reading

Financial Industry Gets New Guidance on the Use of Social Media

Banks and other financial institutions face unique issues when it comes to the use of social media. Faced with conflicts between social media platform rules, customer expectations, self-regulatory standards, and the strict regulations that govern the industry, guidance has been needed. The industry received some of that guidance recently through a whitepaper issued by BITS, the technology arm of The Financial Services Roundtable whose members are 100 of the largest financial institutions in the U.S. The report addresses the compliance, legal, operational, and reputational risks - and related mitigation strategies - of using social media in connection with a financial or banking operation. Regarding compliance, the report discusses the myriad of compliance areas relevant to banks, including marketing, privacy and security. For example, because social media web sites and web activities are deemed advertising by regulators, the report warns of the risks of failing to comply with various marketing laws and regulations applicable to the banking industry, including state Unfair and Deceptive Acts or Practices Acts and Prize and Gift Acts, as well as others that require additional steps for financial institutions, such as Truth in Lending, Truth in Savings, and FDIC membership rules. The paper predicts even stronger and more subjective requirements to come under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Risks of non-compliance vary widely - from litigation and reputation risk, regulatory enforcement actions and in some cases civil money penalties. … Continue Reading

The Legal Implications of Social Networking: The Basics (Part One)

Much like the "Cloud computing revolution" there is an almost frenzied excitement around social media, and many companies are stampeding to exploit social networking. The promise of increased intimate customer interactions, input and loyalty, and enhanced sales and expanded market share can result in some organizations overlooking the thorny issues arising out of social networking. Many of these issues are legal in nature and could increase the legal risk and liability potential of an organization employing a social media strategy. In this multi-part series the InfoLawGroup will identify and explore the legal implications of social media. This series will help organizations begin to identify some of the legal risks associated with social media so that they may start addressing and mitigating these risks while maximizing their social media strategy. In Part One of the series, we will provide a high level overview of the legal risks and issues associated with an organization's use of social media. In subsequent parts members of the InfoLawGroup team will take a deeper dive into these matters, and provide some practical insight and strategic direction for addressing these issues. As always, we view our series as the beginning of a broader conversation between ourselves and the larger community, and we welcome and strongly encourage comments, concerns, corrections and criticisms. … Continue Reading