Legal Issues Associated with the Integration of Social Media into Business
With its ever expanding reach, social media today is a viable force in communication and business. Digital marketing is an indispensable advertising tool for businesses today. Hence, more and more industries are working towards integrating social media into their business structure.
Social media comprises of any internet application that allows users to exchange content by the medium of technology. Access to these apps is usually free of cost and their eligibility criterions are not that stringent either. As convenient is their use, the more complicated are the legal issues with social media utilization. Therefore, businesses looking to incorporate social media into their practices need to be well aware of them.
Here are a few legal issues associated with the expending of social media for business:
The most commonly violated law on social media is also one of the easiest to follow. Copyright works include text documents, images, videos and source codes. Use of material under copyright protection without explicit permissions can lead to an infringement lawsuit.
As far as possible, use content that is free for personal and commercial use and doesn’t lead to any copyright infringement. Even while using such material, make sure to check for requirements of author attribution and give credit where it is due. Website owners can also protect themselves under a ‘safe harbour’ provision, which protects the site from liability in case of any copyright violation by removing the content from the website.
For copyright protected material, always seek permission from the author. Usage rights to the material may cost you a small license fee but it’s still a better option than an infringement lawsuit that may harm both your company’s reputation and finances.
Not monitoring the quality of content that is used on your social media platforms is a defamation lawsuit waiting to happen. To avoid defamation lawsuits, consult your corporate counsel and structure specific rules that all employees need to follow. These policies can caution the staff against using content that can be considered as slanderous, fraudulent, inapt or unprofessional while working with company resources.
If you encounter a case of online defamation, immediately contact your corporate lawyer to take suitable measures to defend your business.
Although, there are no specific legal regulations regarding social media, common legislations do apply to the internet as well. Content on your social media pages such as tweets and Facebook comments just like text messages can be considered a part of electronic discovery in the case of a lawsuit.
Your social media profile is considered an electronic directory for your business and the information from these sources should be considered as a part of your corporate property. It is highly advisable to run all the content through a social media expert before it’s posted to avoid unnecessary impediments later.
While advertising for your business online, you should keep the marketing and sales regulations by Canada Business Network in mind. For example, it is necessary for your employees to disclose their place of occupation if they want to tweet or post positive things related to your business. There should always be a disclaimer for native advertising present on the page, when bloggers are paid to post about your brand.
Keep these tips in mind while including online marketing tools into your business plan and avoid the legal issues with social media usage.