The long arm of social media

Many people use social media without a care in the world,
this is catching up on certain individuals as cases are being taken to court
and legal precedents set.

This week in the UK two cases have occurred:

  1. Employee sacked due to Facebook use at work
  2. High profile person found guilty of libel via

Facebook contributes
to job loss
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, a publicly funded
body, dismissed a member of staff for accessing Facebook during working hours.
The Agency claimed there were other conduct issues too, but it’s the use of
Facebook at work that has hit home.
Many organisations don’t allow staff to access social
networking sites on work computers, but as mobile apps have developed it may be
the only way to prohibit social media usage at work is to confiscate mobiles on
the way in to the office. This is already occurring in several schools,
although that’s a different issue.
High profile person
found guilty of libel via Twitter
The High Court ruled that a tweet published by Sally Bercow
about Lord McAlpine was libellous.
Twitter is a great place for sharing news, but when it comes
to repeating – or retweeting – a so-called news item that has no foundation or has
not been proven, you could now find yourself guilty of libel. We don’t know the
amount of damages that Sally Bercow has had to pay, but a court case is
certainly expense by the time you’ve hired a lawyer and barrister at the High
One of the challenges with Twitter is that as soon as you’ve
shared information it can be easily shared with thousands of other people and
this makes it difficult to remove or deny. There are also the Washington State
Archives which are possibly the first
archives dedicated specifically to the preservation of electronic records and include
Twitter in its data set. This means that one sudden outburst could be recorded
Next time you’re tempted to share something that may not be
entirely true, think twice or be prepared to dig out your cheque book.

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