Social Media and the Law- Blog #6

social-mediaImage Source

By: Phillip Sternitzke- @PSpepper

Ever since the early days of MySpace, social media has engrained itself in modern culture. It’s such an important part of world that the various major social medias are visited by billions of people every day. And considering this blog is for a class revolving around social media, it’s even made its way into education and business. Every year businesses, around the country will pump millions of dollars into managing their social media accounts and advertising on the sites to potential customers. But with social media being such an important part of our society, what are the rules?

Over the past couple weeks, one of the biggest stories regarding Facebook would be that about fake news. People post and repost fake news stories all over the site, leading many to believe these stories are real. Forbes reports that 62% of Americans get their news from social media. Since the news that fake news has begun to make the rounds on social media, people have begun to wonder whose job it is to police social media. Is it Facebook’s job to filter out all the fake news articles, or is it up to the users to find out what is true or not (if you find an article that’s from a .wordpress, there’s a strong chance that it’s not real news).

There are also question of who owns what online. While original content can be easy enough to sort out (especially it you have something trademarked), what about a joke, observation or theory? talks about this very subject saying, “Social media laws relating to who owns the content being shared, when and where sharing is appropriate and what limits may be imposed on sharing often raise issues relating to trademark infringement, copyright infringement, social media marketing, labor relations and more.” They do go further on in the article giving more information regarding social media law. Things can get even more complicated when companies get involved with their original content. What happens if someone steals something off their social media, like taking a doctored picture and passing it off as their own? Most companies would let it go, but what would happen if a company went after someone? Not just with a cease and desist order, but actual legal action?

Despite being around for over a decade, social media is still a relatively new phenomenon. While a lot of the legal issues haven’t been worked out yet, I suspect over the next few years we will see more and more legal president regarding social media.

Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism