Monitoring the Social Media Accounts of High School Students


Monitoring the Social Media Accounts of High School Students

According to media reports, the Southern Poverty Law Center is none to pleased that Huntsville city schools is monitoring the social media accounts of its students under their SAFe program.  The Center has offered to help any student who has been disciplined because of a social media post.  According to school officials, they only review a student’s social media account if the student has already shown signs of trouble and someone reports them to administrators.

Previously, I blogged about California’s new law that provides students greater privacy in their social media activity.  Alabama might want to consider following California’s lead and enacting its own safeguards for students.

Juror Misconduct in New Hampshire: New Law Review Article


This Note examines the prevalence of Internet-related juror misconduct in the New Hampshire Superior Court and the efforts of Superior Court judges to detect and prevent such misconduct. I conducted a survey of New Hampshire Superior Court judges regarding their experience with juror Internet misconduct and solicited their feedback about a sample jury instruction. I have incorporated their feedback into a proposed set of jury instructions specifically targeted at reducing juror Internet misconduct.

Facebook and Ferrari Sued Over Fan Page


Both Facebook and Ferrari have been sued over the ownership of a fan Facebook Page. According to the lawsuit,

The Wasems spent years and countless hours building something valuable two Facebook fan pages that attracted millions of fans (more than 16 million to date) and generated tremendous exposure for Ferrari and Ferrari wanted it. So,with Facebook’s knowledge and substantial assistance, Ferrari took it, and they have both profited from what the Wassems created. Industry experts have estimated that the value to a company of a commercial Facebook page ranges from an average of $174 per fan to more than $1,000 per fan for luxury brands in the automobile industry. This action seeks damages against Ferrari and Facebook for their wrongful conduct in taking something that didn’t belong to them.

As more and more individuals realize the financial value in certain social media accounts/pages, I expect to see more disputes about ownership.   Last month, I reported about a case in which the parties were fighting over the ownership of Facebook “Likes.”  The court in that case determined that those who maintain Facebook pages don’t necessarily have a property interest in the “likes” on that page. According to the trial judge in Mattocks v. BET,

“liking” a Facebook Page simply means that the user is expressing his or her enjoyment or approval of the content. At any time, moreover, the user is free to revoke the “like” by clicking an “unlike” button. So if anyone can be deemed to own the “likes” on a Page, it is the individual users responsible for them. Cf. Bland, 730 F.3d at 385-86 (holding that public employee’s“like” of political-campaign page was a protected form of free speech and expression). Given the tenuous relationship between “likes” on a Facebook Page and the creator of the Page, the “likes” cannot be converted in the same manner as goodwill or other intangible business interests.

Facebook Asks the DEA to Stop Creating Fake Accounts


Facebook recently sent a letter to the DEA asking them to stop the practice of creating fake Facebook pages which violates Facebook’s Terms of Use.  The Facebook letter goes on to state that

Most fundamentally, the actions threaten the integrity of our community. Facebook
strives to maintain a safe, trusted environment where people can engage in authentic
interactions with the people they know and meet in real life. Using Facebook to impersonate
others abuses that trust and makes people feel less safe and secure when using our service.
Indeed, as we have observed at Facebook, such deceptive actions are often used to further
harmful conduct, such as trolling, hate speech, scams, bullying, and even domestic violence.
This impact is markedly different from undercover investigations conducted in the "real" world.

This letter was in response to earlier media reports which revealed that the DEA has in the past created bogus Facebook pages of real people.  To read more about that story go here.

Social Media – Digital Asset Attorney (Job Announcement)

One more reason why courses like Social Media Law should be taught in law school. Here is a recent job announcement for a social media attorney.

Social Media – Digital Asset Attorney-14000005J5


Abbott is a global healthcare company devoted to improving life through the development of products and technologies that span the breadth of healthcare. With a portfolio of leading, science-based offerings in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic pharmaceuticals, Abbott serves people in more than 150 countries and employs approximately 69,000 people.

Follow us on LinkedIn

Abbott seeks an attorney to provide legal support for social media and Internet communications over a variety of platforms. This newly created position will operate within our Corporate Legal Department and act as Legal’s primary representative/liaison working with Abbott’s Global Marketing Organization (GMO) in its online (internal and external) communications. This individual will participate in social media planning, media, and web initiatives, and will advise on e-commerce issues. Qualified candidates should have at least 5 years of relevant legal experience, including the following:

-       An extensive understanding of the current global social media landscape, including all first-tier and many second-tier social media platforms, and associated legal and compliance risks

-       A working understanding of e-commerce platforms and associated legal risks

-       A desire to work in a rapidly evolving legal, communications and marketing environment

-       An ability to work collaboratively with many different areas of the organization (including Public Affairs, Marketing, Ethics and Compliance, and Finance) and across all business units

-       Exceptional communication, influencing, and organizational skills, and a highly pragmatic approach to analyzing potential legal risks and identifying mitigation strategies

-       An ability to work under pressure, prioritize tasks, and work on multiple projects with numerous teams across diverse functions

-       A clear understanding of the business environment for healthcare companies, including regulatory requirements related to marketing and advertising

Responsibilities will include (but are not limited to):

-       Acting as primary Legal contact with Abbott’s Global Marketing Organization (GMO), which owns and operates Abbott’s social media and other digital and Internet assets (web sites and applications), and serving in a Legal support role to Abbott’s business units and dedicated legal teams

-       Collaborative development, evolution and implementation of governance processes for social and digital communications,

-       Coordinating Legal input and approvals for corporate and business unit (global) social media and Internet assets (web sites and applications), including:

o    Review and approval of new social media projects

o    Review and consult on ongoing communications via corporate social media channels

o    Development and deployment of mobile (iOS and Android) applications for internal and external use

-       Acting as Legal’s representative on the Social Media Content Editorial Review Board, which vets social media strategies and planned content

-       Acting as Legal’s liaison to the Mobile Center of Excellence, which vets mobile applications

-       Providing Legal counsel to Corporate and business divisions regarding strategic program development, launch, operation and/or expansion of social media capabilities including region-specific channels

-       Providing guidance to GMO and business divisions regarding jurisdictional issues related to social media and the deployment of mobile applications

-       Coordinating with outside counsel to resolve novel questions in the burgeoning discipline of social media law and mobile medical application regulation


Minimum Education


Minimum Experience / Training Required

  • Generally 7+ years of relevant experience

    ·           Proficient in practice area

Facebook Messsage Not Sufficient Notice to Terminate Father’s Parental Rights


Last week the Oklahoma Supreme Court (IN RE ADOPTION OF K.P.M.A.) ruled that a woman’s Facebook message to her former sex partner stating that she was pregnant was not sufficient legal notice to allow for the termination of the father’s parental rights.

According to the Oklahoma Supreme Court,

“Instead of contacting father directly, mother left him a message on Facebook, which is an unreliable method of communication if the account holder does not check it regularly or have it configured in such a way as to provide notification of unread messages by some other means…This court is unwilling to declare notice via Facebook alone sufficient to meet the requirements of the due process clauses of the United States and Oklahoma Constitutions because it is not reasonably certain to inform those affected.”

GA Appellate Court Says Parents May Be Liable for Son’s Facebook Page


The ruling can be found here.

This case involves a young boy named Dustin who allegedly created a bogus Facebook page in the name of a young girl named Alexandria. The page included both sexists and racists comments.  Alexandria eventually became aware of the page as did school officials.  Dustin was questioned about the page and admitted to creating it with another girl from his school. Dustin’s parents were notified and he was given an in-school suspension.  However, the bogus Facebook page remained accessible and continued to accept and extend friend requests for 11 months.  The account was eventually deactivated two weeks after Alexandria, through her parents, sued Dustin and his parents for libel and infliction of emotional distress.

At the trial stage, Dustin’s parents moved for summary judgment which was granted. Alexandria appealed arguing that questions of material fact existed regarding whether the parents breached a duty to supervise Dustin’s use of a computer and an Internet account. They also claimed that as landowners a material question existed as to whether the parents breached a duty to remove defamatory content existing on their property. As to the first claim, the appellate court agreed with Alexandria writing that

a reasonable jury could find that, after learning on May 10, 2011, of Dustin’s recent misconduct in the use of the computer and Internet account, the Ahearns failed to exercise due care in supervising and controlling such activity going forward.  Given that false and offensive statements remained on display, and continued to reach readers, for an additional eleven months, we conclude that a jury could find that the Ahearns’ negligence proximately caused some part of the injury to Alex sustained from Dustin’s actions (and inactions).

As to Alexandria’s second claim, the appellate court agreed with the lower court and dismissed it.

Thus, it remains to be seen if the parties will settle or move forward to trial on this issue.


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