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Social Media and The Law

In today's society it is estimated that about 45% of the world's population uses social media. We spend on average about 2.5 hours daily using social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. We all know how to post Instagram stories or tweet our opinions on social platforms, but do we know about the platform's policies? Social media platforms do enact policies that give users usage rights. However, these rights are given not only to the users, but to the social media platform itself. When a person decides that they want to create a social media account, for instance Instagram, personal information that is used to create that social account is then voluntarily exposed to the public domain or third party organizations to which the further extent to privacy protection is unknown. For this reason, it is important that social media marketers comply with any or all privacy laws that may apply. This general rule extends to personal information that may be subject to privacy laws where the information is being collected, used or disclosed for the purpose of the marketing campaign.


Social Media and Privacy Laws

Privacy is a concept that everyone wishes to well, keep private, right? Unfortunately, most of us will fail to maintain our privacy due to certain policies that are enacted by social media platforms (yes it was in the fine print you didn't read). The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), makes it a requirement that all third party organizations follow a "10 Fair Information Principles" compliance rule in order to protect all personal information. These principles include:

  1. Identifying and disclosing to the user the purposes for collecting personal information.

  2. Obtaining meaningful consent for the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, by ensuring that individuals clearly understand what they are consenting to.

  3. Protecting all personal information (regardless of how it is stored) against loss, theft, or any unauthorized access, disclosure, copying, use or modification.


Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

Social media marketers should keep CASL in mind when engaging in marketing campaigns on social media where specific messaging is intended to be sent out through social platforms, which can include:

  1. Promotions where participants are asked to share with friends, which may raise CASL spam issues if “sharing” requires or encourages participants to send commercial information to friends, contacts, or others via social media.

  2. Where direct messages with commercial information is sent to recipients via social media.

Social Media and Intellectual Property

We all remember the copyright lawsuit against Gigi Hadid when she was sued by a paparazzi for posting a picture of herself on her own social media account, right? This is why it is crucial for social media marketers to keep in mind the types of content that might infringe intellectual property policies or violate a social media platform’s terms and conditions. Infringement of intellectual property may occur when:

  1. An advertiser re-purposes content they find elsewhere on the internet for use in a company's social media.

  2. An advertiser attempts to use the trademarks of other organizations to draw internet users to the company's social media or other websites.

  3. An advertiser uses a social media platform’s intellectual property in a way that is inconsistent with the platform’s brand guidelines.




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Froese Law provides its Canadian law services by a professional corporation.  

Froese Law provides its U.S. legal services in affiliation with a U.S. based law firm.

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