Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat allow users to connect with one another and share information with the click of a mouse or a tap on a touchscreen—and have become vital tools for professionals in the news and strategic communication fields. But as rapidly as these services have grown in popularity, their legal ramifications aren’t widely understood. To what extent do communicators put themselves at risk for defamation and privacy lawsuits when they use these tools, and what rights do communicators have when other users talk about them on social networks? How can an entity maintain control of intellectual property issues—such as posting copyrighted videos and photographs—consistent with the developing law in this area? How and when can journalists and publicists use these tools to do their jobs without endangering their employers or clients?
Including two new chapters that examine First Amendment issues and ownership of social media accounts and content, Social Media and the Law brings together thirteen media law scholars to address these questions and more, including current issues like copyright, online impersonation, anonymity, cyberbullying, sexting, and live streaming. Students and professional communicators alike need to be aware of laws relating to defamation, privacy, intellectual property, and government regulation—and this guidebook is here to help them navigate the tricky legal terrain of social media.