It’s no secret that social media has revolutionised the way we do business. Whether used to communicate with customers, to give advice, or simply to attract new clients, social media is being utilised by businesses in ways like never before. And while social media offers a world of opportunities for businesses, there are certain guidelines and considerations that need to be put in place by employers to avoid legal issues.
Below we’ll go over a few tips that will ensure that your company’s social media use doesn’t get you tangled in any lawsuits.
Copyright Law: This may seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but because social media advocates sharing, it is essential to make sure that you don’t pretend to own anything that you don’t own the copyright to. Our advice is to use original content wherever you can; where you can’t, make sure that you give credit to the original source.
Vicarious Liability: Many employers are unaware that they can be held vicariously liable for statements made by employees on social media. Whether it be a tweet, a Facebook post or even a blog post, employers need to ensure that all of their employees are aware that their actions online could affect the company – even if done so on a personal social media account.
Trademarks: Companies should obtain official trademark registrations for their intellectual property. Whether that is a logo, a name, a design or a specific process, the IP of any company should be registered in the country in which they do their core business. To read more about how to protect your IP in the age of social media, click here.
Trade Secrets: As the name suggests, trade secrets are the confidential and proprietary information of a business. Without legal protection, these secrets are at risk of being shared via social media and other online platforms. Employers need to take steps to safeguard this information through processes such as employee agreements, policies and non-disclosure agreements.
Social Media Policy: Along with the agreements mentioned above, employers should explain the company’s social media policies to their employees. Employees should be aware of what may or may not be shared on social media as well as the consequences of infringing on the company’s trademark or copyright.
Lastly, seek legal advice from an attorney who is familiar with labour laws and laws around intellectual property. In cases where you intend to market your services online, the help from a legal attorney could save you and your company from unnecessary legal issues.