Social media have been called the Wild West of the Internet, a place where participants make up the rules as they go. While it is true that technology often advances faster than the law, these legal principles still apply.

  • Before you publicly discuss potentially private information about any current or past employee, you should obtain permission (or seek legal counsel).
  • If you work for a public figure, you may find it more challenging to claim libel than if you represent a private citizen. Celebrities and other public figures have to put up with quite a bit more flak.
  • While re-pinning, re-blogging and re-tweeting are great ways to build social capital, when you share someone else’s intellectual property without permission or proper attribution, you run the risk of legal trouble.
  • The key to avoiding plagiarism is proper attribution. Make sure you give credit where credit is due and that you obtain permission before you use someone else’s photo, lyrics, or video.
  • On social media, you have to balance enthusiastic participation with respect for intellectual property. It’s important to use caution when posting anything that may be seen as offensive or illegal.
  • When it comes to your ownership rights to content on social media, check the account’s terms of service to which you’ve agreed.
  • Even with the best intentions (e.g., celebrations, congratulations, etc.) you should obtain consent before publicizing anyone on social media. Even positive promotion could be seen as public disclosure of private information.