Social media has changed the way we do everything, including the law.
Sounds crazy? Read these:
Social Media Users Unaware of Law (Yes, this is Scotland not the U.S…but same idea applies, right?)
We hear endless stories about sexting lawsuits, job loss due to tweets and legal ramifications of employers using Facebook to hire employees. In class, we talked about a woman who became a real millionaire using SecondLife to sell fake real estate. If someone were to have lost thousands of dollars because of a scam she pulled, they would have little or no argument in court because it’s all FAKE!
One site similar to SecondLife is Neopets. Chance are, if you were a 90s child like me, you spent at least a little time on the site. Basically, you adopt fake pets and raise them. And when I say raise them, you don’t know the half of it. You feed, earn money for, and play with these virtual creatures. A few years ago, Neopets started accepting real money for “neopoints.” Because this is a website targeted to children, this seems equal to gambling. Kids can play special games with the neomoney and spent it in the neomall. In the end, they end up with nothing.
I don’t think this would be a question if the website were targeted to the 18+ age range, but these are mostly 5-13 year olds. Are we handing them credit cards and saying “go free?” It might not be unethical, but it sounds fishy to me.
As the first article points out, most people don’t know their rights when it comes to social media. Isn’t it sad that we post pictures and videos and don’t realize that Facebook can use them however they want? We’re selling our lives.
Similarly, the second article talks about the ramifications of misuse of social media in business. “Social media can be as important a marketing-business development tool as many small businesses hope, but don’t plunge ahead blindly,” the article says. “From defamation to copyright infringement, there are legal issues that social media misuse can trigger.”
This can be especially pertinent for new or small businesses. If they post a song or movie on their website, Twitter or FB page that has that doesn’t have a creative license (and sometimes even if it does) it can result in unforeseen lawsuits.
What do you think?