keeping you and your family safe

business regulations

Social media exposes businesses to large pools of potential customers, but it also exposes them to increased regulation and liability. In addition to the long list of regulations businesses must follow in the real world, there is an entirely new set of rules evolving to regulate business activity on social media. Where there is not a specific new law or regulation, old rules are often interpreted differently when applied to business social media situations. This is why it is so important for businesses to develop a clear plan in a social media policy detailing ownership of social media accounts, authorized users, and employee social media behavior. There is too much going on in the social media legal world to leave issues unaddressed.

​Businesses must be aware of their duties and responsibilities when it comes to the following areas of social media law. Application of these laws to social media often vary significantly between different jurisdictions and different circumstances:

Here is a list of just some of the legal dangers for businesses on social media:

  • Businesses can be vicariously liable for the social media activity of their workers in the course of their work duties. 
  • Irresponsible social media posts, comments, and feedback can lead to lawsuits for tortious interference or product disparagement, as well as consumer protection lawsuits under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
  • Social media can make it easier to reveal trade secrets, leak private and secure data, and infringe on copyrights and trademarks. 
  • ​The use of social media in the hiring/firing/promotion process can discriminate in violation of U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regulations and the Fair Credit Reporting Act if an outside vendor is used.
  • Actions in response to certain employee social media activities can lead to National Labor Relations Act violations. 
  • Failure to retain social media records when there is a duty to do so can lead to accusations of destruction of evidence. 
  • Promotions and contests on social media can lead to fraud and breach of contract lawsuits when handled poorly.​​
  • Improper handling of client or employee information can violate privacy and data collection laws leading to fines, sanctions, lawsuits, and brand damage.
  • Different laws apply in different states and countries. If a company does business in multiple jurisdictions or their social media activity extends outside their state, the laws of the other jurisdictions must be seriously considered.

The bottom line is that social media can be a boom or bust for businesses. Always seek qualified, professional advice. Like a solid business plan, it is all about preparation and execution. Define your objectives, gather required knowledge, select your methods, and stick to your plan. A poorly planned social media marketing campaign can result in costly lawsuits and a public relations nightmare.

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All information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Ninomiya Law, PLLC and Kent Ninomiya only provide legal advice to clients when there is a valid engagement agreement signed by both attorney and clients. The principal office of Ninomiya Law, PLLC is located in Round Rock, Texas. Ninomiya Law, PLLC is responsible for the content of this website.