Legally Tweeting: Legal Consequences of Twitter

By Pedram Tabibi

Twitter’s popularity is growing by the day, and the “Tweet” is now a daily (and preferred) method of communication for many. According to the info-graphic below, there are currently over 465 million registered Twitter accounts, and well over 100 million active users.  Even I entered the Twitter world @PedramTabibi. More importantly, Twitter is beginning to see substantial revenue. Twitter’s projected advertising revenue will surpass half a billion dollars ($540 million) by 2014.

At the same time, however, there are responsibilities and laws that come with Twitter use. As companies increasingly integrate social media platforms into their business models, new, previously unforeseen legal issues are arising quite frequently. Twitter is no exception. The use of this extremely popular social media tool brings with it several potential legal risks that companies and individuals should keep in mind.

A recent article by Suzanne Dibble discussed ten legal issues to consider when using Twitter. They are: 1) make sure you comply with advertising regulations; 2) if you are paid to endorse products, make this clear in your tweets; 3) don’t make any defamatory statements; 4) Tweets are considered public property so don’t disclose confidential information; 5) don’t infringe on anyone’s intellectual property; 6) if you have employees, put in place a social media policy; 7) if you are an employee, state that the views you express are yours rather than your employer, but still be careful what you say; 8) jurors must not discuss or comment on cases; 9) court documents can be served on you via your Twitter account; and 10) freedom of information requests can be made via Twitter.

As a social media lawyer at Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone LLP, I have singled out five Twitter legal issues for more exploration, and caution individuals and businesses to be aware of these concerns when using Twitter…

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