Social media is a ubiquitous part of our personal and professional lives. It offers a way for individuals to express themselves and connect with a wide range of people from whom they would otherwise be disconnected. Companies use this unique and powerful tool to propel their brand into the 21st century and connect with a broad audience. For some brands, social media is the primary marketing tool to build their company and brand from the ground up. 

Approximately 91.9% of businesses “embedded social media in their marketing campaigns” in 2021, a marked increase from about 86% of businesses in 2013. In 2021, companies spent approximately $63.1 billion in social media advertising, which is expected to grow to over $122 billion by 2026. 

But social media brings a host of potential legal problems, ranging from defamation to  intellectual property infringement to governmental regulation. Protect your company by understanding the who, what, why, when, where, and how of your firm’s media usage. 

In this post, the BrewerLong team provides an overview of the legal implications of using social media in business. 

We are here to help answer your questions about laws and regulations pertaining to social media in business. In today’s modern and fast-paced society, having a firm grasp and control of how your company uses social media and how others use it to interact with you is vital. Our team helps companies of all sizes unravel the complex array of potential legal problems surrounding social media in commerce. 

What Are the Legal Implications of Using Social Media in Business?

When a business uses social media, it can have wide-reaching legal implications. Just ask Elon Musk. His May 2022 tweets about his deal to purchase Twitter are currently undergoing legal scrutiny by the Securities Exchange Commission (S.E.C.). The question is whether Musk properly disclosed material information about the deal to investors when he sent the tweet rather than using another form of notice to let investors know the situation. These types of questions are undoubtedly new, and the law surrounding disclosure rules are ever-changing and evolving to suit an increasingly modern era. 

S.E.C. disclosure rules are just one potential problem for businesses and social media. Let’s go over additional areas about the legal implications of social media. 

Customer Reviews

Social media presents a valuable tool for people to spread the word about a brand they love, providing low or no-cost opportunities for businesses to build brand awareness. But companies should take care when responding to negative customer reviews. What you say and how you say it on the public forum can open the door for harassment or other lawsuits. 

Celebrity Endorsements

A celebrity endorsement can catapult a brand into the public eye. But inadvertently implying that your business has the endorsement of a celebrity when the star has not done so can spell disaster. Take care when wording your posts or sharing celebrity statements (such as retweeting). Make sure you aren’t representing to the public that a celebrity endorses your product when they haven’t done so. 

Defamation in Social Media Groups

The legal implications of using social media include the risk of defamation by online groups. Groups on Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter may review your product and spread defamatory material about the company. Or posts made by your current or former employees may contain potentially defamatory content. Having a rock-solid internal policy in place can help you monitor posts made by your current and former employees. 

Discriminatory Content

Discriminatory content is disrespectful and can open your business up to legal liability. Monitor your social media sites and mentions to help ensure that content that is or could be interpreted as discriminatory is either taken down or separated from your brand. In some cases, removing the material from your company’s site can be sufficient to protect you. Other times, more action may be needed. If someone else reads the content and suffers harm because of it, you may be subjected to a lawsuit. 

Protect Your Brand by Putting a Social Media Policy in Place

As you can see, the legal implications of social media for business are far-reaching and can have devastating impacts on your brand’s reputation. Additionally, careless management of your company’s social media presence can cost valuable time, money, and resources. 

Help save yourself the hassle by drafting and implementing the appropriate policy. A good approach balances the interests in curating and propelling the brand with the individual rights of your employees and others. For example, you may not be able to completely ban employees from mentioning your business on their personal social media profiles. But you can place reasonable restrictions on what they say about the company. 

Because this is such a new and changing area, taking a proactive and flexible approach is critical. 

Leverage the knowledge and skill of a social media and business attorney—like those at BrewerLong—to help your brand stay compliant while spreading its message. 

BrewerLong—Social Media and Business Law Attorneys You Need

The law and business—and social media—are fascinating and complex areas. Set your company up for success by hiring a legal team with the acumen to draft policies that fit the occasion. 

Our team has years of experience helping companies write social media policies and terms of service. We have successfully represented dozens of business clients in court. 

For over 14 years, BrewerLong has served Florida’s businesses by helping elevate their brand and company while assisting them with staying compliant. We take care of the legal so that you can take care of the rest. We provide our clients with the sophistication of a large firm and the individualized attention of a small firm. We’re here to answer your questions about the legal implications of social media for businesses like yours. Give us a call today or contact us online.

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