Monday, March 19, 2012

Social Media: Legal, Polices, and Ethics

Social Media: Legal, Polices, and Ethics

"Social Networking Law Blog" is all about the connection between social media and the law.

A New Jersey woman created a FAKE FaceBook profile pretending to be her ex-husband in hopes of hurting his reputation. (Did that grab your attention, like it did mine?) This lady went as far as to make remarks about him having an STD, calling prostitutes for sex and using illegal drugs. These statements are obviously defamatory and can clearly hurt someone’s reputation. Once she was discovered to be the person behind the profile she was taken to court.

"The New Jersey Code of Criminal Justice defines the offense of impersonation/identity theft to include "impersonat[ing] another or assuming a false identity and do[ing] an act in such assumed character or false identity . . . to injure or defraud another."

After many attempts to get her case dismissed by stating that there is no mention of electronic communications, the presiding judge has decided to go forward with it.  (Its mind boggling to me that she knows it’s ILLEGAL to say defamatory statements, but believes because she made those statements over the internet and not in person there shouldn’t be the same consequences.)

I wish this woman was feeling remorse, instead of trying to manipulate her way out of it. She should have thought twice before making a FAKE FaceBook. I hope they throw the book at her.

The problem is that Law based on the internet is still a very new concept so many people are unaware the consequences that come with it.

Social Media Policies for Legal Types is a great article that gives great advice as to what is legally appropriate/not appropriate when it comes to social media in both the business as well as professional world.  

A question that is often asked nowadays is: Are professionals allowed to have a personal life on the internet? My answer to that is, “If you don’t want your boss to see it, it should be out there.” My dad always reminds his employee that they as well as their Facebook’s are a reflection on his company. However, what do we know? Below are Harvard's Law Guidelines.

Harvard states:

“As a general matter, you may post content freely to your blog and to those of others, so long as the content is not illegal, obscene, defamatory, threatening, infringing of intellectual property rights, invasive of privacy or otherwise injurious or objectionable."

I am the first to admit there is so much for me and the world to learn when to comes to social media and the law.


  1. Great post! I think there are huge issues that have to be addressed with the new boom of social media. I also feel like issues of high school cyber bullying and other issues also need to be addressed more directly.

  2. Great post, Tara! I completely agree that social media is one of those things that will ALWAYS come with fine print. We, as students, and future professionals, need to make sure to do our best to not cross those lines!