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Social Media and the Law

Watch that next Tweet

Is social media ruining your life?  The answer to this question may very well be yes.  Is Facebook causing jealousy issues in your relationship?  What about that recent job interview?  Maybe you did not receive an offer due to the photos on your Facebook page or the latest tweets from your Twitter account.  Have you even considered the legal ramifications of the content you publish? Social media can be beneficial and fun, but as with anything, there are drawbacks.

 

First problem we have is the publication of private information.  Who owns your social networking profile page? If you delete your page, is the content truly gone or does the social network retain the right to access, use or share your deleted information? Have you read the terms of use for the social networking site?  Evewry thing you post on the internet leaves a digital footprint. Scary. You may think your information is safe, but in fact, it can be accessed by third parties, and it’s even shared willingly with your permission! My thoughts surround that of identity theft as well.  It may be fairly simple to figure out your bank password if a thief knows the name of the family pet or your firstborn child.

 

From a legal standpoint, a second issue you have to be concerned with is violating copyright laws.  Do you have the right to post third party content?  If not, this is an important consideration.  With the ease of sharing memes, photos, videos and other published content, what exactly is considered to be protected under the Fair Use Doctrine?

We all know that social networks are used as a source of information about people and places. Some may not realize the full impact of statements made or content posted on a social network profile. I know that prior to even interviewing a potential candidate for employment, the first thing I do is check their Facebook page.  Trust me, if the person has one, it can tell me a lot as to whether or not I should hire him or her.

So before you tweet your next rant on Twitter, make sure that the content you are posting is not defaming towards anyone, that you have permission to publish it, and remember, whatever you say or do is a direct reflection on you.

Joseph W.Lehn is an attorney whose practice focuses on  Elder Law and Bankruptcy and Asset Protection.

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