We live in a world where social media is a way of life; it is a means for people and companies to represent themselves to friends and strangers alike. With all the benefits of using social media as a platform, such as connecting with old friends, promoting your cause, using it to gain new business and stay in touch with old customers, we often forget that there can be detrimental consequences in using social media as well. Social media platforms must be used with caution. Although it is a most efficient way to reach a mass of people, it would be wise to consider the downside of that efficiency. Clearly, the benefits of reaching so many far outweigh these consequences. However, when social media is misused, an infinite number of people have access to that misuse. When a mistake is made, unfortunately it is forever.

It is important that you are aware that what you say on Facebook, or on any social media platform, can have a more serious impact because it is exposed to so many people. Defamatory comments could have catastrophic consequences when you consider the impact of your words on a far reaching, never ending audience. Once a comment appears on the net, it stays there forever, allowing future generations of audiences to see the inappropriate public comment.

You must be aware of your employer’s policies on social media. “Freedom of Speech” is not a free pass to represent your employer or company in a negative light. Understand what you are posting and think about who will be affected by what you are posting before clicking “post”. Who will see this? How will what you are posting reflect on your employer? Could this post potentially cause others harm? All of these questions are important.

In Louisiana, a newscaster has claimed that after responding to a comment with alleged racial connotations about her hair made by a viewer on Facebook, she was fired from her job. The news caster violated the social media policy set forth by her news station with respect to not answering any viewer comment on Facebook, irrespective of what was said by either party. She was purportedly fired for violating that policy, not for what she said.

Post responsibly, and if you have any questions regarding your rights, please call us at 516-279-5575 or complete our contact form.

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