Defending free speech has always been an objective of social media networks, and Twitter seems to attract lawsuits more so than any other platform. Over the last few years some interesting scenarios have occurred on Twitter’s 140-character microblog that raise a few questions regarding media law.
- Can what we write on Twitter be ruled as libel?
Defamation law walks a thin line between protecting freedom of speech and protecting a person’s reputation from unfair attack. Can negative comments on Twitter about a person or organization be deemed libel – and held accountable just as any other news source? This question still has courts ruling on what can and can’t be said on Twitter.
- Can users sue for stolen identity on Twitter?
Twitter verifies accounts, which is especially useful for well-known public figures. However, can imposters be sued for fake tweets? Currently there are state laws regarding impersonation, but no federal law on the issue. The scenario has occurred with companies, perhaps the most famous example @BPglobalPR who parodied the oil giant after the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Twitter continues to question what can be protected under trademark and what satire is.
- Is our account information protected by Twitter?
The U.S. Justice Department’s ongoing criminal investigation of whistle-blower organization WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange brought an issue of security to light. Last year a U.S. District Judge issued Twitter a subpoena for access to account information of WikiLeaks’ supporters. Twitter challenged the gag order – and won – the right to notify its users that their information was being subpoenaed.
Twitter is constantly challenging and reexamining media laws in reference to trademark, defamation, censorship, and security. If you have questions or concerns regarding your company’s use of social media marketing, Blue Interactive Agency offers a wide range of services in response to corporate social media, brand monitoring, and reputation management. For more information, contact us at 954.779.2801.