- ’Sup? We’ve commented previously about the new social networking app Yo, which transmits only that brief, eponymous syllable to a user’s friends. Yo’s founders may have been onto something good; the app has been downloaded more than two million times, and may be receiving substantial funding. And the Wall Street Journal suggests that coming improvements to Yo may make it more than a mere novelty app. Could Yo be the new two-character Twitter?
- #YoureUnderArrest. The use of social media in nabbing criminal suspects is truly on the rise. A mother in Charlotte, NC has been arrested for helping her teen son take part in a viral “fire challenge” stunt, after a video of the incident popped on social networking sites. Meanwhile, police are using social media’s rapid reach to track down suspects. In Bedford, MA, police nabbed an alleged bank robber after circulating high-quality surveillance photos of him on social media, and in Stockton, CA, surveillance videos posted online helped police speedily arrest a homicide suspect.
- Are you for real? Some “members” of social media sites appear to be fake identities, replete with stock-photo profile pics and strange off-topic posts. Reportedly, some of these fake profiles may have been created by law firms searching for new clients. Although false online personas are not illegal, social networking sites and government agencies alike are cracking down on them with greater vigor.
- On the right track? Google reportedly will be testing a new method of targeting mobile users, one which connects the company’s mobile web tracking mechanisms with its mobile app tracking mechanisms, thereby allowing Google and its advertisers to track mobile users as they switch between web surfing and in-app activities. Until recently, advertisers usually have had to treat a mobile user accessing the web as a separate person from the same user accessing a mobile app. Facebook, however, is able to accommodate such cross-usage tracking, putting pressure on Google to develop its own solution to this fundamental challenge.
- Strange bedfellows. Although social media is often viewed as a threat to television, a recent study indicates that, in fact, social media has changed the way many people learn about and view television shows. Having a “second screen” at hand increases viewers’ involvement with their favorite shows.
- For your “what were they thinking” file. A juror in a criminal case in Memphis allegedly sent a Facebook friend request to a defendant charged with aggravated assault. Court personnel discovered the communication after the verdict, which was a unanimous guilty verdict, and the “Facebooking juror” was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom.
- Completely liable? A Hong Kong court has found that Google may be liable for defamation based on the words that it used to “auto-complete” a person’s name in a search. In this case, the words that were added implied that the subject of the search was a member of an organized crime group. But Google’s suggestion of these words resulted from its automatic search algorithm; is this enough for liability?
- A guest house in New York’s Hudson River Valley attempted to fine a wedding party that stayed at the guest house $500 for each negative online review of the place. The guest house has since revised its terms to remove the penalty provision and has claimed that it was only joking, but would such a provision have been enforceable in any event?
- If one reads the language in Twitter’s Android settings menu quite literally, it appears that Twitter is about to make a long-expected move into e-commerce and shopping services. Stay tuned.
Socially Aware is pleased to announce that Van Rye Publishing has published the article “Ownership of Business-Related Social Media Accounts” by Morrison & Foerster partner Aaron Rubin and associate Anelia Delcheva in the book Employers and the Law: 2013-14 Anthology of Best Articles. The book is a collection of articles covering ongoing and emerging legal responsibilities stemming from the relationship between employers and employees. Authored by leading employment law experts, the articles are relevant to, among others, business owners, managers, and human resource professionals—and to their legal advisors.
You can find Employers and the Law: 2013-14 Anthology of Best Articles in paperback and e-book format at Amazon.com.
The book is also available in e-book format at most major e-book retailers.
Don’t know your ‘like’ from your ‘hashtag’? Got a LinkedIn account, but not sure how to get the most out of it? Use Twitter in your personal life, but not sure how it works in a business context?
It is well established that effective networking is crucial to a woman’s career. It is also clear that women dominate the majority of social media platforms. Indeed, Sheryl Sandberg says that Facebook statistics show that “The social world is led by women”. But many of us are still not bringing the two together and exploring the value of business networking via social media.
At its heart, business is about relationships, and relationships are built on conversations. Conversations first became virtual via letters, then telephones and faxes, then emails and now social media. Can you imagine telling an important contact that you don’t have email? Can you imagine their reaction? Many will now look at you in the same way if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile!
Please join us for a session where we will provide tips to help you (i) identify which social media platforms are most appropriate for your role, (ii) build and optimize your profiles and (ii) effectively network via social media.
We are delighted to be joined by Linda Cheung, a recognised thought leader on social media for business and the co-founder of CubeSocial, a leading social media marketing and CRM company.
Sue McLean, chair of MoFo Women London and the Head of MoFo’s Social Media Practice in Europe will host the event and provide some top tips for avoiding the legal pitfalls associated with social media.
Date & Time:
Wednesday,September 10, 2014
6:30 p.m. BST
For more information and registration information, click here.
- May a lawyer ethically instruct a client to delete potentially damaging information from a client’s Facebook page? According to a new ethics opinion from the Philadelphia Bar Association, yes, so long as the information is preserved in some way, should it become relevant to the case. The opinion also determined that, under the Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer may ethically instruct a client to change the privacy settings on a client’s Facebook page. It remains to be seen whether other bar associations will follow Philadelphia’s lead on these thorny issues.
- Google reportedly noticed probable child pornography in someone’s email and tipped off police, who obtained a search warrant and arrested the Houston man for possession of child pornography. This is clearly permitted by Google’s terms of service. While no one has sympathy for predators, some have expressed concern over the privacy implications of Google’s actions.
- LinkedIn has announced that it is launching a new service designed to help buyers and salespeople find each other. The service is called Sales Navigator. It could help diversify LinkedIn and make it more profitable, experts say, and it could also pose strong competition to existing, and pricey, software platforms, that salespeople currently use to find customers.
As the quality of visual recognition software continues to improve, privacy concerns have grown concomitantly. Because we now document our lives with so many pictures posted to social media—Facebook hosts over 250 billion photos, with 350 million new photos added every day—photographs are becoming hugely important to the big data movement. Indeed, some say Facebook stores over 4 percent of all the pictures ever taken in history. What truths may lurk behind all those images—and who wants to know?
Cutting-edge visual recognition software programs now make it possible not only to identify a person in a photo on Facebook or elsewhere, but also to determine what that person is doing in the photo.
There’s already image recognition software, used by the fashion industry, that lets a shopper take a picture on his or her smartphone of a piece of clothing and then match that piece by color, pattern, and shape to the offerings of 170 retailers that sell something similar. That’s a benign use of this technology. But more ominous applications are already emerging.
My sense is that this concern is helping to fuel the growth of ephemeral social media sites such as Snapchat, where—at least in theory—photos don’t sit there in perpetuity to be exploited by data miners; they last all of 10 seconds.
After all, imagine all your online photos being processed into a data profile by advertisers or law enforcement, showing where you live, where you’ve been, with whom you hang out and what activities you’ve participated in. If a single picture is worth a thousand words, what are 250 billion photos worth?
- Long arm of the law. A federal judge in Manhattan has upheld a magistrate judge’s ruling that Microsoft must turn over customer emails that are held in a Microsoft data center in Ireland. The key issue is whether communications kept in overseas data centers operated by American companies are beyond the reach of domestic search warrants. The purpose of the search warrant has not yet been disclosed, nor has its target.
- Disruptive and green. The room-rental app Airbnb claims in a just-released survey that it is helping save the environment. According to Airbnb, the survey indicates that the company’s North American customers use 63 percent less energy than people who stay at hotels, while European customers use 78 percent less than hotel guests.
- Emergency! After Facebook crashed briefly for the second time in two months, Los Angeles residents reportedly called 911 to complain, prompting an L.A. County Sheriff representative to fire off a tweet reminding the public that “#Facebook is not a Law Enforcement issue.”
- Going mainstream. For the first time, both Twitter and Facebook are seeing significant growth in online advertising placed by major companies for brands such as Heineken, Tide, McDonald’s, and Charmin. Major consumer products companies have long struggled with the question of how to reach consumers on their mobile devices, and right now, this appears to be how they’re doing it.
- Mismatch? The popular dating site OKCupid conducted some experiments with its user base — changing the type of information available to them about prospective matches and even falsifying it to an extent — in order to see what effect it had on conversations among daters and on how relationships developed. Some observers are critical of this type of experiment on ethical grounds.
- Loose tweets sink ships? Law enforcement agencies in the Pacific Northwest have launched a “Tweet Smart” program that is intended to discourage people from using social media during emergencies to describe the movements and activities of law enforcement personnel. After a few recent shooting incidents, police are concerned that a tweet, for example, might tip off a perpetrator to police tactics.
- Judges’ perspective. A recent survey of federal judges found that the vast majority of them do not believe that jurors’ use of social media has posed a problem in their courtrooms. Only 33 of 494 judges responding reported any detectable instances of jurors using social media, and the vast majority of those instances were harmless.
- Going viral: Silencing its critics, Twitter posted strong second quarter results, adding 16 million new monthly active users and boosting its user base by 24 percent from this time last year.
- #Disappointing: In other Twitter news, the company recently revealed data about the composition of its workforce. It turns out that 90 percent of tech staff and 70 percent of all staff are men, and men make up 79 percent of its leadership. Only 2 percent of the staff is African American, and Latinos make up 3 percent. Its VP for diversity said that like similar companies, Twitter “has a lot of work to do” in this area.
- Balancing act: Reddit has always been a niche social network that never embraced advertising as a source of revenue. That apparently will change now, as Reddit, which is majority-owned by Conde Nast, is trying to attract advertisers without losing its unique culture.
- Busted: A Maryland man taunted local police by posting on the police Facebook page (under his own mugshot) that the cops would never catch him—but the police caught him for a probation violation the next day, primarily by using Facebook.