TWITTER TROUBLE COULD BE COSTLY ; Law firm isues its top 10 safety tips [Liverpool Echo (England)]
(Liverpool Echo (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A NORTH WEST law firm which specialises in cases involving social media has issued a top 10 tips for firms and individuals to help them stay out of trouble on Twitter.
The social networking site, on which users post public messages of up to 140 characters, has become a digital phenomenon in recent years.
However, people have also found themselves in hot water posting tweets which have fallen foul of the law.
Manleys Solicitors, with offices in Chester and London, has acted for a number of high profile celebrities, players and football clubs, as well as small and large businesses.
They have compiled a list of the top 10 ways that people and firms can get themselves into trouble and have today shared the list with ECHO Business.
Senior solicitor at Manleys, Leanne Wheeler, says they are seeing a "huge increase" in claims involving blogs and social media.
"The benefits of social media are largely understood by most businesses. It can be an effective mechanism for promoting brands and for engaging with clients.
"However, commenting on Twitter and Facebook is not the same as a good gossip with your friends.
"There are traps for the unwary and it's not just celebrities that need to know about the dangers of social media. It could be you."
Here are Leanne's top tips to avoid trouble on Twitter: ? Protect Data - don't reveal personal data about another person without consent and do not name victims of rape and sexual assault as this is likely to be contempt and is a criminal offence.
? Have and follow a workplace IT/ social media policy.
. ? Think very carefully before ridiculing others including your competitors, if you go too far you could face a libel claim. ? Don't stalk others on Twitter - two or more tweets could be considered harassment.
. ? Be careful when promoting your products and services to ensure you don't breach advertising and marketing regulations.
. ? Be yourself - do not open a fake twitter account. Misleading or an untrue representation as to a person's identity on Twitter could amount to fraud.
. ? Pause before venting anger - a tweet could amount to assault if a person to whom it was directed believes that physical harm is imminent.
. ? Do not whine or complain. Everyone will unfollow anyone who constantly whines or complains and you could easily fall into the defamation trap.
. ? Don't copy - laws of copyright make it illegal to reproduce work of another person without consent.
. ? Don't use a competing brand as a hash tag - this will minimise the risk of brand confusions and trademark infringement.
Leanne added: "The internet presents a huge threat because it allows instant publication of comments.
"It provides the opportunity for news and statements to go viral - the quick, free and easy ability to exchange information with perceived anonymity can create creates huge risks."
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