Everyone who's anyone is getting into social media. It's
the P2B; the Place 2 Be. Particularly if you're a B2C.
Marketing gurus trumpet the opportunity available for businesses
using social media. The upside is the unprecedented ability to
interact with your customers. The downside is your customers'
ability to interact with you.
It can be pretty risky giving people a public platform to say
what they think. First you have the PR risk. The danger of
interactivity is that you can lose control of the conversation, and
maybe your reputation.
Then there's the legal risk. Obviously you can be liable for
whatever claptrap you publish yourself. On top of that you can be
liable for material that other people post on your social media
site too. You can be liable for defamatory comments, misleading or
deceptive conduct and intellectual property infringement, among
Here's an example. Recently a business called Allergy
Pathway set up a Facebookpage that had some customer testimonials
posted on its wall. The Federal Court decided that the testimonials
were misleading. Allergy Pathway was liable for them because it
knew they were there and didn't take them down. Result?
Penalties. Embarrassing corrections on its Facebookpage. Nightmare!
Take a look:
There are a few legal variations on this same theme. Once you
know (or should reasonably know) that material on your social media
site is misleading or defamatory or infringes someone else's
IP, if you leave it there you can be liable for it.
The solution is to establish a notice and takedown regime.
Basically it's a complaints process. You provide a contact
point for complaints. You monitor it. And if you receive a
complaint, you quickly make a decision about whether to take down
the offending material. In most cases if you follow this approach
you can avoid legal exposure.
We could go on about this stuff all day. If you're a tech
law nerd it's really interesting. But if you're a business
contemplating whether and how to use social media, the thing to
know is that it's not as scary as you might have heard, but
equally not something you want to dive into totally blind.
Questions? Give us a call.
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In some cases these fees or surcharges are higher than what a bank charges to these merchants for use of the system.
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