Free Speech Social Media

News & Analysis as of

Digital Defamation Update: Recent Decisions Highlight Issues with Tweets, Hyperlinks

The rapid spread of social media sites has opened up unparalleled opportunities for voices that might have once gone unheard to resound across the world. While these channels can be undeniably advantageous in many contexts,...more

Like It Or Not, Your Employees Can Like It

It gets boring to blog just about the NLRB. We need some judicial action to get the juices flowing a little more. We got a little something last week. Question: Is merely clicking the “like” button on Facebook tantamount to...more

Questions Remain About Social Media Privacy Rights During Workplace Investigations

Employees’ social media activities often play a key role in workplace investigations. For example, an employee may complain that a coworker sent a harassing Facebook message or posted something offensive on Twitter...more

Businesses rejoice but poster beware: Yelp ordered to identify anonymous reviewer

Many business have suffered the misery and frustration of a harshly negative, anonymous online review. That anonymity, critics argue, frees the reviewer from worries about the need for accuracy and, worse yet, encourages the...more

Federal District Court Strikes Down Law That Bans Ballot Selfies

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire recently struck down on First Amendment grounds a 2014 amendment to New Hampshire Revised Statute 659:35 that made it illegal for New Hampshire voters to post pictures...more

Status Updates: Appeals court upholds anti-cyberbullying law; better marketing through neural networks; restaurant owner turns the...

Cruel intentions. Laws seeking to regulate speech on the Internet must be narrowly drafted to avoid running afoul of the First Amendment, and limiting such a law’s applicability to intentional attempts to cause damage usually...more

Entertainment and Media Litigation Update

Garcia v. Google: “Doubtful” Copyright Ownership Claim in Film Performance Does Not Outweigh First Amendment Right to Free Speech - Why it matters: In a closely watched case that tests the limits of copyright protection,...more

Employee Gripe Apps: Should Companies Be Concerned?

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article by Lindsay Gellman on a new app by Collectively that allows users to post anonymous reviews of and complaints about their employers. The app is cheekily called...more

Teach Appropriate Speech - Or risk liability for employees' derogatory on-line comments about customers

Recent District of Hawaii decision suggests social media policies are more important than ever, despite NLRB’s dramatic limits on employers’ ability to police employee speech on the Internet - Howard v. Hertz -...more

Employers Finally Win NLRB Facebook Case

Over the past several years, EmployNews has dutifully reported decision after decision from the National Labor Relations Board concluding that employees’ use of Facebook and other social media sites to complain about work,...more

What’s in a Like?

In the pre-Facebook era, the word “like” was primarily a verb (and an interjection sprinkled throughout valley girls’ conversations). Although you could have likes and dislikes in the sense of preferences, you could not give...more

Managing Your Media: A Practical Primer on Operating Public Entity Social Media Pages

You have heard it before and will hear it again: Social media has revolutionized the way the world communicates. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and others are here to stay. Social media pages are the newest and best...more

Commercial Disparagement An Increasing Concern In The Age Of Social Media

Companies are turning to social media with increasing frequency to directly communicate with customers and potential customers. T-Mobile USA is no exception. Not only did the company release an astonishingly snarky press...more

Facebook: Fireable Offense or Free Speech?

The interplay between an employee’s postings on Facebook and the impact of those postings on his or her employment status is an evolving area of the law. Just last month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of...more

Poetic Justice - 2013 Wrap Up (Part 1 of 2)

This is the time of year to anxiously look forward to all that is anticipated to come in 2014. But it is also the time to look back at all that has happened in 2013. Rather than simply give you links to all of the stimulating...more

Parameters of CDA Immunity Being Tested by Appeals Court in Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is currently hearing an appeal of a district court decision, which if upheld would have enormous ramifications for freedom of speech and the online service provider safe harbor...more

#Libel and the Lulu App

You can rate your favorite pizza place online. Why not your ex-boyfriend? That’s the idea, at least, behind Lulu. The popular app allows women, verified through their Facebook profiles, to rate men using pre-written...more

First Amendment Does Not Prevent State From Firing Employee For Derogatory Facebook Comments

Though the First Amendment affords greater free speech protections for government employees relative to those in the private sector, the speakers do not have carte blanche to insult or deride whomever they see fit. Rather,...more

Employment Flash - November 2013

In This Issue: - OFCCP Releases VEVRAA and Rehabilitation Act Section 503 Final Rules - US Supreme Court to Decide Whether Severance Payments Are Subject to FICA - SDNY Rules That NYC Human Rights Law Does Not...more

What's Not To Like About Protected Speech?

At the expense of sounding too corny, sometimes these issues are fascinating. As much as they are practical, from a takeaway standpoint. Back on May 8, 2012, I blogged about an interesting federal case in Virginia that...more

Angry Facebook Posts and Tweets by Passenger about an Airport Employee Considered Expression of Frustration and Therefore not...

Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites have become the latest battleground between two often conflicting legal concepts: the right of a person to speak freely, even in a vitriolic way, versus the right of another...more

What's in a "Like"? Precedent-Setting Case Poses New Risk for Employers

The ubiquitous thumbs-up icon in Facebook has gained new prominence for private employers. In a case of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held that an employee fired for "liking" the campaign...more

Court Finds the Simple Click of a Facebook “Like” Button Is Protected Speech

Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that Facebook “likes” are a form of speech entitled to First Amendment protection. While this ruling has no direct impact on private employers in New York, the...more

Social Media Law (Part 3: Defamation)

The use of social means to engage in defamation is nothing new. Indeed, defamation requires the very social element of publication. Social media - Facebook pages or posts, tweets, blogs and online comments - merely make...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - January 2013

In This Issue: *FEATURE ARTICLES - New Pregnancy and Disability Regulations for California Employers - Washington Federal Court Declines to Uphold Broad Non-compete Restrictions Against California...more

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