Many companies have now jumped on to the social media band wagon, taking advantage of the vast networking and advertising opportunities that sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, You Tube and Instagram offer businesses. Whilst social media sites present companies with valuable and inexpensive ways of marketing and promoting their products and services, they also present companies with a unique set of potential legal issues and scope for inadvertent breaches of defamation legislation.
This poses the question: Who’s responsibility is the content on social media pages?
A 2011 Federal Court decision established that the creator of a Facebook ‘fan page’ will be liable for any comments made by third parties on that fan page; similarly a recent Advertising Standards Board ruling confirmed that companies and business owners are responsible for the comments made by third parties on their Facebook pages. The ACCC has supported these decisions and has confirmed that it will use its powers to pursue parties who do not remove false claims from social media pages.
Claims based on online publications are on the rise. Companies should take care that they do not convey a misleading impression of specialist expertise, or otherwise allow inaccurate third party endorsements of their products or services. In short the responsibility for content on social media pages lies with the company.
For a social media ‘health check’, or to discuss any aspect of business or personal law, contact Julia Adlem or Shavin Silva at Pace Lawyers on (08) 8410 9294 or here.