As the use of social media by companies has become main stream, it is important to provide guidance to clients on the legal risks that accompany the use of social media to promote their businesses. The legal risks can be broadly grouped into the following categories:
1. Employment: As discussed previously on this blog previously,employers need to be careful when investigating potential and existing employees through social media. The potential to discoverprotected information about an employee is very high and should not be risked. In addition, the National Relations Board (NLRB) has recently released an advisory memo that states an employees posts on social media are protected if the posts discuss wages, hours, and working conditions with co-corkers and others. Employers need to be very careful to remain up to date on the current state of employment law as it relates to social media.
2. Contractual Issues: Using sites such as Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others all require a user to accept their terms and conditions to have an account. If your company is advertising on these sites, make sure that the terms and conditions that you agree to for advertising are in line with the terms your company can live with; otherwise you may run afoul of the requirements of the social media site and end up with your entire account being removed. In addition, if you have an employee running your social media campaign for you, make sure that employee is well versed in both the requirements of the FTC for your company and the terms and conditions of the social media site the employee is using.