The method of confronting another party in a social media dispute must be selected with great care in order to have the greatest impact and minimize risk. The goal should be to apply just enough pressure to achieve your objectives and not so much as to make the situation worse. Social media disputes can be simultaneously personal and detached. The emotions resulting from the dispute can certainly feel personal, but the communicating through computers can embolden people to detach the link between their taps on a keyboard and the real-world consequences of that action. Confrontations that are too harsh can prompt the opposing party to escalate the dispute or refuse to act. The key is to make the opposing party realize that it is in their best interest to comply. Consider your options carefully when confronting someone in a social media dispute:
Direct Contact: This can be a face-to-face contact, telephone call, letter, or email that is not intended for public disclosure. It is essentially one party informing another party where they stand on the issue, why they believe their point of view is correct, possible measures that may be taken, and a demand for action. When presented tactfully and diplomatically, direct contact can be effective. It allows the opposing party to alter their course of action privately without having to back down publicly. However different people react differently to being confronted. The method and weight of the contact must be carefully measured for the specific situation. It is common for defiant website owners to publish cease and desist letters to mock people threatening them. Do not make idle threats. Your lawyer should establish solid legal grounds before threatening specific legal action.
Supervising Authority: Appealing to a third party with some measure of authority over the opposing party is often more effective than direct contact. A supervising authority could be a school, employer, or trade organization. These entities often have codes of conduct or social media policies that give them the ability to apply pressure that you or the law may not. The supervising authority will often help because the acts of the opposing party could make the entire entity look bad. It is important to consider whether the supervising authority actually has jurisdiction over the social media user in question. For example, private social media use during someone's personal time might not have anything to do with their employer, work, or school. The supervising authority might not have the power to do anything. It is also important to contemplate whether confronting a supervising authority is a good tactic. The supervising authority might not care about your plight and the other party might not appreciate you going over their head and embarrassing them.
Regulatory Agency: If the other party is licensed or regulated by an agency or government, you can file a complaint that could threaten their ability to do business. Many businesses are licensed, such as plumbers, electricians, and barbers. Professionals such as doctors, lawyers, and engineers are also licensed. Each regulatory agency has its own procedures for complaints.
Police: If laws have been broken or legal action is possible, calling the police can be an effective way to let the other party know how serious you are. A visit from a police officer can frighten wrongdoers into changing their ways. It also provides a record of your complaint and attempt to resolve it. However calling the police is only warranted in law enforcement situations, not just because you are unhappy with somebody's social media activity. Be sure to understand when it is appropriate to call the police. If law enforcement is brought in when it is not warranted, the other party could attempt to use this against you.
In all of these situations you should seek legal advice from a licensed attorney who is knowledgeable in the latest developments in social media law. Understanding your options and potential consequences of your actions can prevent costly mistakes. If confrontation is ineffective, consider Legal Action or a Media Response.
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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.