Social Media and the Law

AGS [Australian Governement Solicitors] ran a forum Tuesday 21 July on the topic of social media and the legal requirements. I wonder if those of you who were there feel like me ‘a bit concerned’? Have the lawyers taken the fun out of it all?

Items covered were copyright, defamation and injurious liable. Very interesting. If we hosts a facebook, twitter, yammer, blog or other similar accounts and permits people to speak their minds without moderation our agency could be held in breach of the existing laws covering the topics above. Even if a site is moderated but that moderation takes a period deemded to be ‘too long’ by the court because of the nature of the content the agency could be held in breach of the law. Constant awareness of our agency’s responsibilities under the law must be made clear to user of each site. The terms of use must reflect the agency’s intent to moderate etc. This also will have an impact upon who our agency follows because the agency cannot be seen to ‘giving weight’ to a person or persons who make statements, display videos etc by being acceptable enough of their name and activity to cause the agency to ‘follow’ them.

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3 Responses to Social Media and the Law

  1. Chris Beer says:

    Hi Chris

    Came across your blog post on LinkedIn. Would love to find out more about that forum – what was covered, were there any doc takeaways, contacts etc. I work alongside Collab space people so very relevant to us and something we obviously missed attending (and shouldn’t have 😉 )

    Cheers btw – well written and succinct. Immediately hit a relevant nerve with me!


    • krismcg says:

      Thanks for the comment. Yes there were documents to take away, but it was more a heads-up and an awareness of an agency’s responsibilities. ACMA was also using the event to highlight their new initiative spam sms for the reporting of mobile phone spam.

  2. Tim Little says:

    Hi Chris.

    Do you know it the APS has moved on from their ‘knee-jerk’ reaction much, from this above? Having recently been in a CAC agency, the experience has been ‘do as we say [no social media] not as we do [launch sites, pages and draconian, silly policies]’.

    It seems that ‘people’ totally get social media, until they become actually accountable for their posts (usually through their work) and then they go back to the 1500’s where only the ‘few’ are allowed to read or write, with positions of power, high (usually ‘inherited’) positions and an o’erweening believe in their superiority, rather than actually understanding the themes coming out of the social media, they, themselves espouse and purport to ‘get’.

    When they become ‘accountable’ for their comments, rather than the ‘free and untouchable’ tongue of the truth, they seem to rejoin the soul-less and as you say, take the fun (and the truth) out of their posts.

    Consider Wikipedia v some of the anonymous ‘meme factories’ popping up. There is more truth (albeit the truth of public consciousness) in memes, however, who would dare provide contra-comments or statements on Wikipedia when ones identity (and therefore authority to provide comment) could be known (putting aside false identities – and really, who can be bothered with one or more imposter or false identities these days? Managing a personal and professional digital identity takes enough energy)?

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