find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Social media ruling will mean more work for lawyers

Social media ruling will mean more work for lawyers

Demand for legal advice about social media is set to spike off the back of a landmark ruling making advertisers responsible for third party comments on their brand and community pages, a media law expert has claimed.

The industry watchdog Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) has ruled that Facebook pages managed by businesses are a form of advertising. Liability for posts written by fans therefore land with the brand.

Jamie White (pictured), a media specialist at Pod Legal, told Lawyers Weekly that practitioners specialising in social media will gain work as a result of the decision.

“Social media policies will become more popular,” he said, adding that clients are likely to approach firms for training in how to determine what acceptable content for social media sites is. He also predicted growing demand for advice on online terms and conditions, particularly for Facebook.

The catalyst for the ruling was a complaint filed with the ASB arguing that comments on beer brand VB’s official Facebook page were sexist, racist, homophobic and glorified binge drinking.

The advertising watchdog, which represents the $30 billion-a-year marketing industry, ruled that VB was responsible for the user-uploaded content.

This judgment will have far-reaching implications for businesses with a social media presence, claimed White, who believes that the internet’s “wild wild west” days are over.

“There is a belief out there among business owners that ... the rules of the paper-based world just don’t apply to the internet and social media,” he said.

“Businesses need to be aware that they will be held liable for content on their social media pages and they need to take active steps to reduce that risk.”

Pod Legal is recommending clients rigorously monitor third party comments on their social media pages and correct, respond to, or delete content that could be derogatory or constitute misleading or deceptive conduct (a breach of Australian consumer law).

The VB decision echoes an ACCC ruling in 2011 that found Allergy Pathways responsible for deceptive posts on its Facebook page. White said the two cases “are a sign of where social media is heading”.

“We can expect a series of cases addressing the wider issue of content in the online environment in the near future,” he added.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Social media ruling will mean more work for lawyers
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...