Social Media and the Law
Ask Jade: October 2020
Welcome to another episode of ask Jade. Today, I am going to go over social media and the law.
Promotions and Contests
We all use social media now with our businesses to promote and market. Sometimes we have things such as online contests and promotions, which is great. But when you are doing that, be sure to look at the terms of service with the platform that you are using, such as Facebook. Facebook has some specific guidelines when it comes to having contests and promotions. Such as, you cannot use your personal timelines to administer such things and you must use your business page. Also it’s just best practice if you’re doing an online promotion or contest to include some language such as: no purchase necessary; or void where prohibited; and identify who the host or promoter is; and what the eligibility requirements are. Be sure to provide a clear description of the prizes, provide a date that the winner will be chosen and notification; provide the judging criteria and the method of selecting the winner. Those are just a few tips regarding that.
Also, in the social media and online world, we live for reviews, reviews are critical. We all love good reviews, but those negative ones can be pretty harmful to our business. Right? So, a lot of businesses have been pushing back, and adding clauses into contracts that would prevent their customers from making negative comments about their business online. That is actually illegal. You cannot do that. A lot of us have those non-disparagement and confidentiality clauses in our contracts with our business partners or our employees, yet you cannot have clauses like that with your customers. The FTC will fine you if you do that. So be aware. I know we do not like those negative reviews, but you cannot have those clauses with your customers.
Another thing – endorsements: we like to have people do endorsements for us, and we do endorsements for others, and collaborate. When it comes to endorsements, disclosure is key. If it is paid for, or you are receiving anything free from a company for doing an endorsement, you need to make sure you disclose it in a way that is clear. The FTC says social media needs to make sure that the endorsements are honest and not misleading to the public. So be aware of that as well.
Online photographs – before you use that picture, do not assume it is yours for the taking just because you found it online. Most photographs are subject to copyright and owned by the person who took the picture. So, find the source and seek permission first or make sure you give credit. Same thing with your customer photos – get consent and give credit as well. That is just the best way to play it safe. You do not want to get caught up in a cease and desist.
Last thing – employee’s rights. If you have employees, they might post about work online, maybe if they are upset or if they are happy. You can fire an employee for social media posts unless that firing would be based on discrimination or them being a whistleblower. Obviously, that is not allowed.
These are just a few tips with social media and the law. If you have any other questions, as always, feel free to reach out to the law office of Jake carpenter and I would be happy to help.
See you next time!
The materials available at or within this article and video are for information purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should ask an attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue of problem.
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