On Friday, January 24, after three hours of deliberation, a California jury decided in favor of Courtney Love in the libel suit brought against her over a tweet by her former lawyer Rhonda Holmes. As is often the case, both sides are claiming victory. Love has been cleared of libel, but the jury determined that she hadn’t realized the information she tweeted was false. Thus, Holmes also had her name cleared and is claiming the case a victory. Read the full article “Defense verdict for Courtney Love in ‘Twibel’ case brought by her former lawyer” by Martha Neil.
Twitter’s new ad platform, @TwitterAds, recently used fake tweets by real users to promote itself. If you’ve ever used Twitter to sign in to another app, you may have noticed the list of things Twitter asks you to agree to – or maybe you haven’t. Almost invariably, you are asked to allow that app to post tweets on your behalf. What makes this instance more problematic, however, is the use of the tweeters’ likenesses as the tweets themselves were subsequently used in a blog post. Twitter immediately removed the tweets and apologized for the “confusion,” but this still raises a number of interesting legal implications. Read more in “Twitter Fakes Real Users’ Tweets” by Jeff Elder and “Twitter Creates Fake Tweets” by Jeff Blagdon.
What would the end of the year and the start of a new one be without the seemingly never-ending lists of the top stories from the previous year. There was a lot of jockeying for position among the major players last year. Jolie O’Dell provides a list of the top ten rivalries in “Social Media Fight Club! Top Tiffs from 2012.” While the focus here is not overtly legal in most cases, the article does help to paint a picture of how the social media landscape is looking going into 2013.
Last week, Michigan joined the growing number of states to enforce a social media privacy law. Like similar legislation in California and Maryland, it will now be a lot harder for employers and educators to gain access to employees’ or students’ social media accounts. Governor Rick Snyder signed the legislation, which prohibits educators or employers from asking for usernames or passwords, into law on Friday. Sarah Wolfe’s article “Michigan Social Media Privacy Law Signed By Governor” has more details.
The Attorney General of New York recently released guideline for cause marketing focused on social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. The list of best practices is aimed at helping both consumers and charities. In a nutshell, the promotion should be clearly described, consumers should be able to easily determine how much they are donating, if something is not apparent, it should be transparent, special efforts for transparency should be made on social media, and the public should be told how much was raised. The full set of best practices can be found here.
California District Judge Richard Seeborg ruled Monday that Facebook might owe you as much as $10. The ruling is the latest development in the class action suit against Facebook over Sponsored Stories. The case also marks continuing efforts to limit Facebook’s access to users’ personal information. Jessica Dye’s article “Judge Gives Initial OK to Revised Facebook Privacy Settlement” appeared on Reuters.
The FBI is keeping a close watch on Twitter and Facebook, looking for instances of security fraud. The increased interest is all part of an on-going crack down on insider trading in the hedge fund industry. For more information read the article, “FBI Sees Facebook, Twitter as Breeding Ground for Security Fraud”, from Reuters.
The National Labor Relations Board has ordered Dish Network to change its social media policy to allow employees to make disparaging or defamatory comments about their employer should they choose to. The Administrative court was particularly interested in criticizing a social media policy that could lead to union or collective activity being restrained. Eriq Gardner looks at the dispute in “Dish Network Ordered to Change Social Media Policy” in The Hollywood Reporter. Administrative Law Judge Robert Ringler’s decision can be found here.
It seems it’s already time for the 2012 end of year lists to start appearing. Here is one from Alex Fitzpatrick on the “7 Landmark Tech Laws Passed in 2012.” It will be interesting to see how some of these spread to other states and countries in the coming months.
A new study shows that while many Australian law firms are making use of social media, few of those firms have and official social media policy or offer any kind of social media training. James Barnes writes about the issue in “Oz Firms Lack Social Media Nous.”