Social Media


A West Australian woman won $48,404 in compensation for emotional distress from an ex-boyfriend who posted sexually explicit videos and photos of her on Facebook.

The judge ruled that the woman was entitled to an injunction and compensation, including $35,000 for emotional distress and $13,404 for loss of wages while on leave.

Anybody engaged in business, virtually any kind of business, knows that you cannot ignore the social media as a marketing tool. Our lives are so intertwined with the World Wide Web, there’s no escape from it if you’re looking to grow your business.

Even so, poor use can result in more than just a dent on your brand. It could cost you expensive legal fees, even if you win. Here are a few things you might want to consider. You cannot:

Post any copyrighted content (articles, blogs, essays, etc.) without permission from the copyright holder.

  1. Publish content defaming a person or an entity.
  2. Publish someone’s words or image-likeness to endorse your product, service, business or company
  3. Copy or imitate another company’s advertising.

These risks fall under a collective term sometimes known as advertising infringements and in a cut and paste world they can be easily overlooked.

The chances are that you and your employees, especially your marketing, sales and IT groups use social media frequently. The possibility of making mistakes is real. This doesn’t mean you should throw up your arms in surrender. On the contrary this potential for liability should encourage you to be prepared. Here are some smart tips:

  • Check your insurance cover: Business owners should consider cover to pay for legal expenses if lawsuits result from something you post. Get advice from your broker.
  • Plan your social media content: Posting some spur-of-the-moment or off-the-cuff content has a certain charm to it, but if you’re not cautious, mistakes can happen. Work out a content review process to minimize risks.
  • Screen Your Employees Carefully, especially those with authority to post: Sometimes it is tempting to assign a few of your youngest, smartest tech-savvy people to manage your social media. Take a closer look. Don’t trust your business reputation to just anyone. Make sure they’re mature, responsible and level headed enough to be guardians of your brand.

In today’s world just about any business can capitalise on social media. Make sure you consider the risks as well.

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