There’s no doubt that social media has become a huge part of our everyday lives. Whether we’re making connections with friends and family, or in the business world, nearly everyone is using at least one social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter/X, or Instagram. However, with this widespread use of social media comes an array of potential legal problems. This has led to the rise of a new legal specialty: social media lawyers.
Social media lawyers specialize in internet-related legal issues, such as cyberbullying and online defamation, but they can also help people navigate many other online-related legal problems. Below are the most common areas with which a social media lawyer can assist their clients.
A primary concern for many people is protecting their privacy online. Because social media platforms often collect personal information, this information can be at risk from data breaches, which have become commonplace. A social media lawyer can help individuals understand their rights when it comes to the privacy of their online data and take legal action if this personal data is leaked.
Defamation of character has also become common on social media, leading to damaged personal and professional reputations. Social media makes it all too easy for individuals to make false and malicious statements about others, which is then viewed by hundreds or more people. This leads to tarnished reputations and has the ability to affect an individual’s or business’s income as well. Social media lawyers often specialize in online defamation. They can help their clients not only protect their reputation, but seek legal action against those who have chosen to defame them.
Another common issue that has come with social media and the digital age, in general, is the challenge of protecting intellectual property. This involves copyright infringement and trademark disputes, and social media is often at the forefront of these types of legal conflicts. Social media lawyers can help creators understand their rights and enforce copyright protections.
Unfortunately, cyberbullying and harassment have also become commonplace on social media platforms. Victims may find themselves in a difficult position, unsure of how to deal with the person(s) responsible for bullying or harassing them. Again, this is where a social media lawyer can help them understand their rights and pursue remedies such as restraining orders or legal action against the perpetrators.
Enforcing platform policies
Social media platforms have policies in place to help protect people from defamation, cyberbullying, harassment, and other potential legal issues. However, many times, a breach in policy can fall through the cracks; it’s up to the victim to alert the platform about the problem and the company may or may not do anything about it. Social media lawyers can assist in ensuring that social media platforms adhere to their policies and also take legal action, when necessary.
Legal systems have struggled to keep up with the ever-changing nature of online platforms and social media. Many laws and regulations have been set in place to address various issues such as online harassment and intellectual property disputes. However, there are still many gray areas that need to be addressed.
One thing has become clear, however: we have a definite need for legal expertise in this realm. Fortunately, a number of lawyers have chosen to specialize in online legal issues and especially those related to social media. If you’re dealing with one of the above problems, a social media lawyer can help.