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.
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.
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.
As we have discussed on our blog, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has continued a campaign of enforcement actions against employers who, according to the NLRB, have unlawfully terminated employees for discussing working conditions on social media. As we reported, in the first of such "Facebook" enforcement actions to come before an NLRB administrative judge, the employer was ordered to reinstate five employees and to pay back their wages.On September 28, 2011, in the second "Facebook" case to reach an NLRB administrative judge, an employer was found to have been justified in terminating an employee car salesman for Facebook postings that mocked the employer and did not concern working conditions
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.