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Category Archives: First Amendment

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Social Links: IMDb sues over right to post actors’ ages; Facebook tests jobs feature; Pinterest adopts “tried it” button

Posted in Cyberbullying, E-Commerce, First Amendment, Free Speech, Litigation, UK, Wearable Computers

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has filed suit to overturn a law that requires the popular entertainment website to remove the ages or birth dates of people in the entertainment industry upon request. Vine might not be history after all. Twitter users posted more than one billion election-related tweets between the first presidential debate and Election… Continue Reading

Social Links: Instagram’s “offensive comment” filter; Twitter’s TV app; YouTube’s “Community” feature

Posted in Advertising, Cyberbullying, European Union, First Amendment, Litigation, Livestreaming, Marketing, Privacy

Instagram now allows users to hide offensive comments posted to their feeds. Take that trolls! Soon you’ll be able to watch Twitter content like NFL Thursday Night Football on a Twitter app on Apple TV, Xbox One and Amazon Fire TV. “Ballot selfie” laws—laws that prohibit posting online photos of completed election ballots—are being challenged… Continue Reading

Social Links: Instagram’s & Pinterest’s new features; the per-post premium paid to top influencers; a successful social media investor shares his strategy

Posted in Advertising, First Amendment, Free Speech, Marketing, Mobile

Instagram now allows users to zoom in on photos in their feeds and at least 11 brands are already capitalizing on the new feature. Pinterest acquired Instapaper, a tool that allows you to cache webpages for reading at a later time. A social-media celebrity with 500,000 followers and a lot of people interacting with his… Continue Reading

Social Links: Twitter offers anti-harassment tools; Pinterest takes on video ads; P&G changes its social strategy

Posted in Advertising, Cyberbullying, Disappearing Content, First Amendment, Litigation, Marketing

Twitter took steps to remedy its harassment problem. In addition, over the last six months, Twitter suspended 235,000 accounts that promoted terrorism. The Washington Post is using language-generation technology to automatically produce stories on the Olympics and the election. Video ads are going to start popping up on Pinterest. Does it make sense for big… Continue Reading

Social Links: Twitter’s troll problem; Snapchat fat-shamer risks prosecution; a federal anti-revenge-porn law?

Posted in Cyberbullying, Disappearing Content, First Amendment, Free Speech, Litigation, Livestreaming, Mobile, Privacy, Protected Speech

Facebook Messenger joins the elite “one billion monthly users” club just four years after its release as a standalone app. A Canadian judge ordered a couple convicted of child neglect to post to all their social media accounts his decision describing their crime. Leslie Jones of Ghostbusters highlights Twitter’s trolling problem. One tech columnist says… Continue Reading

Are Online Trolls Ruining Social Media Marketing?

Posted in Cyberbullying, First Amendment, Free Speech, Infographic, Marketing

Earlier this year, I helped moderate a lively panel discussion on social media business and legal trends. The panelists, who represented well-known brands, didn’t agree on anything. One panelist would make an observation, only to be immediately challenged by another panelist. Hoping to generate even more sparks, I asked each panelist to identify the issue… Continue Reading

Social Links—Instagram’s logo change causes a stir; stats on social media use at work; lessons from a YouTube star.

Posted in First Amendment, Livestreaming, Marketing, Privacy, Protected Speech, Statistics

The Great Instagram Logo Freakout of 2016. A UK council policy reportedly grants its members power to spy on residents by setting up fake Facebook profiles. Guess who spends more of their workday on social media, women or men? Lessons from one of YouTube’s first (and most successful) stars. Should sharing tragic images on social… Continue Reading

Social Links: A social media marketing fail; Facebook and prisoners, jurors, older people

Posted in Big Data, First Amendment, Litigation, Marketing

We’re trying something new here at Socially Aware: In addition to our usual social-media and tech-law analyses and updates, we’re going to end each work week with a list of links to interesting social media stories around the Web, primarily things that caught our eye during the week that we may or may not ultimately… Continue Reading

Federal District Court Strikes Down Law That Bans Ballot Selfies

Posted in First Amendment, Litigation

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 of their completed ballots to social media. While several states have laws that disallow ballot sharing, RSA 659:35… Continue Reading

The Top Social Media Platforms’ Efforts To Control Cyber-Harassment

Posted in Cyberbullying, First Amendment, Terms of Use

Social networking platforms have long faced the difficult task of balancing the desire to promote freedom of expression with the need to prevent abuse and harassment on their sites. One of social media’s greatest challenges is to make platforms safe enough so users are not constantly bombarded with offensive content and threats (a recent Pew… Continue Reading

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

Posted in Cyberbullying, Defamation, First Amendment, Marketing, Section 230 Safe Harbor, Status Updates

Positive I.D. The tech world recently took a giant step forward in the quest to create computers that accurately mimic human sensory and thought processes, thanks to Fei-Fei Li and Andrej Karpathy of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The pair developed a program that identifies not just the subjects of a photo, but the action… Continue Reading

Washington State Court Refuses to Unmask Anonymous Online Reviewer

Posted in First Amendment, Litigation, Online Reviews

In a precedent-setting ruling, the Washington Court of Appeals in Thomson v. Doe refused to grant a motion to compel brought by a defamation plaintiff who had subpoenaed the lawyer-review site Avvo.com seeking the identity of an anonymous online reviewer, holding that, for a defamation plaintiff to unmask an anonymous defendant, that “plaintiff must do… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press: The July/August Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in Bankruptcy, Cloud Computing, Copyright, First Amendment, FTC, Infographic, Internet of Things, IP, Livestreaming, Online Reviews, Privacy, Trademark, Wearable Computers

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we present a “grand unifying theory” of today’s leading technologies and the legal challenges these technologies raise; we discuss whether hashtags can be protected under trademark law; we explore the… Continue Reading

Status Updates: AZ’s anti-revenge-porn law scrapped; civil rights claim against blogging prosecutor dismissed; Match buys PlentyOfFish

Posted in First Amendment, Status Updates

There oughta be a law? As we’ve reported previously, states all around the country have enacted laws that criminalize the posting of revenge porn—nude photographs published without the subject’s consent, often by an ex-lover seeking retribution. To avoid running afoul of the First Amendment, these laws are typically fairly limited in scope and provide for… Continue Reading

Status Updates: A Right To Be Forgotten Update; Errand Apps for Everyone?; Your Entire Google Search History

Posted in First Amendment, Privacy, Status Updates

Lest we forget. Established a year ago this month by a European Court of Justice decision, the right to be forgotten requires search engines like Google to comply with an individual’s request to remove “inadequate, irrelevant,” or “excessive” links that appear in search results when someone conducts an Internet search of the individual’s name. The ruling gives… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press: The May Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in Copyright, DMCA, First Amendment, FTC, Infographic, Internet of Things, IP, Privacy, Terms of Use

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we discuss a recent decision in Virginia protecting the anonymity of Yelp users; we examine the FTC’s much anticipated report, “Internet of Things: Privacy & Security in a Connected World;”… Continue Reading

Court Protects Anonymity of Yelp Users

Posted in Defamation, First Amendment, Litigation, Privacy

  Virginia’s highest court recently held that Yelp could not be forced to turn over the identities of anonymous online reviewers that a Virginia carpet-cleaning owner claimed tarnished his business. In the summer of 2012, Joseph Hadeed, owner of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning, sued seven anonymous Yelp reviewers after receiving a series of critical reviews. Hadeed alleged that… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press: The April Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in Copyright, Discovery, DMCA, E-Discovery, Employment Law, First Amendment, Litigation, Privacy, Wearable Computers

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we summarize the current status of various state laws restricting employer access to the personal social media accounts of applicants and employees; we explore how… Continue Reading

New Issue of the Socially Aware Newsletter Available

Posted in Employment Law, Financial Institutions, First Amendment, FTC, Privacy

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we summarize the FFIEC’s recently-issued final guidance on social media use by financial institutions; we report on a new NLRB decision holding that particularly egregious… Continue Reading

Keeping Privates Private: The Legal Landscape of Revenge Porn

Posted in Copyright, DMCA, First Amendment, Privacy

Mark Zuckerberg famously stated that the purpose of Facebook is “to make the world more open and connected,” and indeed Facebook, other social media outlets and the Internet in general have brought worldwide openness and connection-through-sharing to levels unparalleled at any point in history. With this new universe of limitless dissemination often comes the stripping… Continue Reading

Refining the First Amendment Status of Social Media Activity by Government Employees

Posted in Employment Law, First Amendment, Litigation, Supreme Court

The Supreme Court’s 1968 decision in Pickering v. Board of Education allows governmental employers, including law enforcement agencies, to fire or discipline employees for disrupting operations with excessive complaining, but it prohibits governmental employers from firing or disciplining an employee for speaking out on matters of public concern as a private citizen if the employee’s… Continue Reading