Can a Tweet Attract a Lawsuit?

It has been clear since 2010 that social media use in business is both a critical communications tool – and one that needs governed as email is. Otherwise you may answer the question, “Can a tweet attract a lawsuit?” as yes.

The opportunities to reach across the demographics of the markets you serve and to your customers are extraordinary with social media. This is why insuring your social marketing initiatives are shored up with a proper supervisory framework and records retention is essential. What triggered the latest concern over the legal impact of tweets? Kanye West.

Can a Tweet Attract a Lawsuit? How to Avoid it

Before you grin and think “we are not in the entertainment business”, what he did was issue a tweet that is interpreted as legally binding with the use of a single word! You can read the article here at Corporate Counsel. Mr. West tweeted about his forthcoming album release earlier this year that it would “never” be on iTunes or Spotify, but only on Tidal (an artist-owned streaming service). The wrinkle? His album was in fact released on both iTunes and Spotify a couple months later after several million folks registered their name, email and credit card on Tidal’s service. There is now a class action suit gaining momentum.

Likewise, before you dismiss his tweet as that of a celebrity – Mr. West is absolutely also a business person who has a very lucrative brand with the same liability issues as any company as it relates to public communications.

Three Steps to Governing Your Social Media Initiatives

There are three central components to think about when considering the impact of a tweet.

This issue can be largely avoided through having a clear policy and training in place for how social media will be used and by whom Technology makes it possible to supervise, archive and review social media communications – both pre-publication and post-publication. This same archiving with policy and reporting means you’d find a tweet like this in near real time and could address concerns rather than missing it or ignoring it. Like any electronic communication, social media requires governance in business, some of it mandatory due to laws and regulations. Equally as valuable is making certain you govern it even when rules do not apply – to defend for possible litigation.

If you would like to learn more about how to solve the social media challenge in your business, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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