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Social Media Laws

The legal difficulties of user-generated content are covered by social media law, which includes both civil and criminal components. The right to privacy, defamation, advertising law, intellectual property (IP) law, and other legal considerations for enterprises' social media include, among others.

As a brand, you must be cautious when publishing content on social media because it may infringe on copyright, trademark, or other intellectual property rights. The legal landscape around social media is changing as a result of the expansion of social networks. The extensive landscape of social media law protects posting on online content based on norms, and it may enlarge or defend employees' limited privacy rights.

These experts can help you and your company avoid being sued for the activities of your users. Furthermore, intellectual property rights experts can help you defend your trademarks, logos, or copyrighted content that are being misused on social media.

Rise of social media Recently

The meteoric emergence of social media (SM) platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and others is proving to be a double-edged sword in democratic governance. On the one hand, it has democratised information access. However, it has concentrated authority over that information in the hands of a few private firms, their billionaire owners, and a few ideologically motivated activist groups. Hundreds of millions of netizens around the world now feel empowered to search for content without having to go via traditional information curators like journalists and editors. They are no longer merely consumers of content, but also creators and disseminators.

Misinformation on social media, on the other hand, has the potential to sway public opinion and create a sense of alarm and unease among the people. Social media is a very liberal platform that allows ordinary people to express their opinions on a policy, legislation, or law. People may communicate directly with their leaders and vice versa through social media.

Legal Implications of social media

COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT - Businesses may be mislead to believe that simply because a photograph is made available on the internet or is subject to a creative commons licence, it is free to use, no questions asked. This is a rare occurrence.

While exceptions to copyright law and under a licence may allow material to be used for specific purposes, such as personal use, these limits normally do not apply to commercial use, such as when utilised in an advertising or branding effort.

All third-party materials should have clearances secured before being utilised in a social media campaign, just as they would be for a print campaign. Businesses should also consider whether the performer included in any images or videos has given the necessary clearance.

MISLEADING CONDUCT - Consumer protection rules still apply, prohibiting firms from making false, misleading, or deceptive representations about their goods or services. Any claims made on social media, as well as any comparisons to competitors, should be backed up. When running campaigns that may imply a connection to or endorsement from (for example) a celebrity, a film, or a government agency, be cautious. If a company lacks such an association or endorsement, the information could be construed as misleading, and a third party could object.

In contrast, if a company pays or otherwise sponsors a celebrity or organisation to endorse its products or act as a brand ambassador via the third party's social media channels, it may be deceptive for the third party to post the paid social media content without disclosing the affiliation in some way.

PRIVACY- Any information that may be used to reasonably identify an individual is considered personal information. This information could contain a person's name, phone number, or email address.

A company that is subject to privacy regulations is prohibited from collecting, using, disclosing, or storing personal information without first complying with the rules. Individuals must be notified when personal information is collected, and such information may not be disclosed unless it is for certain objectives.

DEFAMATION - Defamation is when content is published or broadcast that harms the reputation of a third party. It is also potentially actionable as misleading and deceptive conduct.

There are defences if the text is accurate or represents an honest perspective, among other things. Most businesses lack the legal standing to sue others for defamation and must rely on other remedies, however a business can theoretically libel an individual or a small corporation.

The danger with social media is that defamation can occur simply by 'liking' or'sharing' a defamatory comment made by someone else, especially if this exposes the content to a new and wider audience. And we're all aware of how simple it is to press these ubiquitous buttons.

ADVERTISING STANDARDS - Even if it's merely for branding or profile building, content shared on a company's social media platform is almost always advertising.

There are also special laws that apply to the marketing of food and beverages (including alcohol) or automobiles, as well as marketing messages to youngsters. It's a good idea to take a step back and examine whether the content is 'age suitable' (if age limitations can be implemented, certain concerns can be avoided) and whether the criteria are followed in other ways.

Because of the comments that members of the public can post on a business's social media platform, social media, like the other dangers, exacerbates advertising standard compliance issues. When allowing members of the public to comment on a campaign, the company should think about its "house rules."

This article is written by Tanishka Bajaj of Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies.

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