Protect Yourself: Social Media and Legal Liability

By Mikal E. Belicove|For|March 5, 2010

Business blogging and other forms of business-related social media seem to be innocent enough, but the content you post could get you into serious legal trouble. Chicago attorney and media law expert Damon Dunn, of Funkhouser Vegosen Liebman & Dunn Ltd., cautions any company that publishes content on the internet to vet that content, particularly any photographs, as carefully as any media company should do.

Whether you post it on a billboard, company website, or tweet, liability is triggered by false or deceptive statements of fact. In the commercial speech arena, courts are more willing to impose liability for speech that creates a misleading impression even if the words were literally true.” ~ Damon Dunn, Attorney and Media Law Expert

To protect yourself and your business from legal liability related to the content posted on your website, blog or via other online social media outlets, Dunn recommends the following:

  • Watch for unfair juxtapositions, especially photos and text, or omission of explanatory facts.
  • Beware of misusing your competitor’s copyrights and trademarks.
  • Don’t be impulsive. Media companies engage in fact checking and pre-publication review and so should you.
  • Be particularly careful to avoid disclosing confidential information. Preventing the spread of confidential information is very difficult once it reaches the web and social media, particularly if it goes viral due to public interest. In addition…

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