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Social media: New issues for business (part 2)

The law is just beginning to catch up with all the social media issues that are impacting businesses.

In the first installment we outlined potential issues for businesses, below are a few additional concerns.

Do you retweet or otherwise pass along customers’ social media content?That’s great – unless the customer has misappropriated a copyrighted image, violated someone’s privacy, or done something else wrong. Then, you might be on the hook for it.

Do you limit employees’ social media usage? The National Labor Relations Board recently weighed in on when a business can do this. The issue is that all employees (whether or not they belong to a union) have a right to communicate with each other and discuss workplace issues in an effort to improve their working conditions.

According to the NLRB, here are three things you cannot legally do: Prohibit employees from posting “sensitive” information about the company, prohibit them from posting embarrassing facts about co-workers or customers, and require them to get permission to link to the company’s website.

You can, however, require employees who post on certain social media to identify their employer and state that their views do not necessarily reflect those of the company.

Do you save business-related social media posts? Most companies these days know that they need a policy on retaining e-mails and computer files in the event of litigation. But many don’t realize that social media posts also need to be included in the policy.

Who owns the company’s social media accounts? This needs to be made very clear. You don’t want to spend valuable resources having employees become well-known on social media, only to have them leave and take their online followers with them.

It is always a good idea to have a thorough legal review of your company’s social media practices.

Image courtesy of isophere at

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