The Law and Business of Social Media
November 05, 2020 - FTC, FCC, Copyright, Section 230 Safe Harbor

Social Links: Avoid becoming a social-media-scam victim; does stream-ripping site violate copyright law?

Reports of social media scams that have caused users to lose money had tripled by the end of 2020’s second quarter, resulting in the loss of $117 million during the first two quarters of this year alone. Romance scams and supposed economic relief offers are a large part of the problem, but e-commerce scams are the biggest culprits, with goods advertised on social media never reaching the consumer. The FTC is offering tips to help you avoid becoming a victim.

Should the FCC curtail Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act’s protection of sites for liability for third-party content? Both the FCC’s Chairman Ajit Pai, and Tom Johnson, the FCC’s general counsel, have alluded to the FCC’s power—and their desire—to do it. is seeking a declaratory judgment holding that the site does not violate copyright law by allowing users to obtain permanent downloads of music that YouTube temporarily streams. The suit was instigated by the Recording Industry Association of America’s requests that Google de-list because such listing allegedly violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. is arguing that, like a VCR, it merely allows users to “time-shift” by listening to content at a different time than it is presented.

The New York State Department of Financial Services is demanding that the world’s biggest social media platforms establish positions dedicated to monitoring their cyber defense. The call for designated regulators comes in the wake of the financial watchdog’s investigation into an incident back in July in which three people compromised more than 100 Twitter accounts, including those of former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden.

A district attorney in Los Angeles is seeking to dismiss more than a dozen cases in which testimony pivotal to a conviction was given by police officers who published comments or images on social media that were derogatory toward women, Muslims or people of color.

For the first time ever, a vote has been cast for a US president in the general election using an app on a personal mobile phone.