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Monthly Archives: May 2017

How In-House Lawyers Responded to the FTC’s ‘Influencer’ Letters


How In-House Lawyers Responded to the FTC’s ‘Influencer’ Letters

Recently, the FTC sent letters admonishing social media influencers for including certain products in their social media posts and failing to provide adequate disclosures in those posts e.g., that the influencers were being compensated for highlighting the products.  This article discusses how some attorneys responded to those FTC letters.  It appears that most attorneys recognized the importance of the letters and advised their clients to ensure that future posts contain adequate disclosures.  The challenge here is that the FTC, unlike their European counterparts, have not been explicit about what constitutes an adequate disclosure on social media.

Law.com: How In-House Lawyers Responded to the FTC’s ‘Influencer’ Letters


How Not to Use Snapchat


How Not to Use Snapchat

A playmate model, Dani Mathers, serves as a prime example of how not to use Snapchat.  Mathers was convicted of invasion of privacy and sentenced to 30 days of graffiti clean-up and 3 years probation for posting a semi-nude picture of a 71-year-old woman in the locker room of a LA Fitness gym.  The picture, which also included a photo of the smirking Mathers, had the following caption:

 “If I can’t unsee this then you can’t either.”

To read more go here.

Do You Have a First Amendment Right to Social Media?


Blake Anthony Klinkner

Do You Have a First Amendment Right to Social Media?


This article analyzes recent court decisions, and a pending case before the United States Supreme Court, concerning the degree to which individuals have a First Amendment right under the United States Constitution to use social media. More specifically, this article analyzes the constitutionality of state laws which criminalize social media usage amount convicted felons.

Determining Community Standards on Facebook

Determining Community Standards on Facebook

After reviewing 100 internal training manuals, spreadsheets, and flowcharts, the Guardian newspaper published an article discussing how Facebook decides which content to allow on its site.  Here are some examples from the article:

The full article is available here.


The ‘Tinker-Bell’ Framework: The Fifth Circuit Places Facebook inside the Schoolhouse Gate in Bell v. Itawamba County School Board

Christopher Edmunds

The ‘Tinker-Bell’ Framework: The Fifth Circuit Places Facebook inside the Schoolhouse Gate in Bell v. Itawamba County School Board


Taylor Bell, a senior at Itawamba Agricultural High School in Mississippi, posted on his personal Facebook page a rap song he composed and recorded away from school. The main thrust of the lyrics depicted a pattern of sexual harassment of female students by two of the school’s coaches. Word of the song soon spread to the school’s administrators, and the Itawamba County School Board (Board) informed Bell that because the song allegedly contained threats to specific coaches at the school, he would be suspended pending a disciplinary hearing.

At the hearing, the disciplinary committee mostly ignored the song’s underlying allegations, instead focusing on whether some of the lyrics violated school policy by containing “threatening, harassing, and intimidating” language directed at students or teachers. Specifically, the committee expressed concern about one line of the song, which reads “you’ve f–ed with the wrong one / going to get a pistol down your mouth,” asserting that the lyrics were “threats to a teacher.” Bell denied that he was making threats, contending that the lyrics “reflect the possibility that a parent or relative of one of the female students might eventually react violently upon learning that the coaches were harassing their children.” Although the disciplinary committee found that the issue of whether or not the lyrics constituted threats was “vague,” the Board unanimously decided that Bell had violated school policy and decided to place him in alternative school for the remainder of the grading period.

Bell filed an action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, seeking to enjoin the suspension as a violation of his First Amendment rights. The district court granted the Board’s motion for summary judgment, and Bell appealed. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, sitting en banc, held that under United States Supreme Court and Fifth Circuit precedent, the school had the right to suspend Bell under the circumstances, affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment. Bell v. Itawamba County School Board, 799 F.3d 379 (5th Cir. 2015) (en banc).




The article below discusses Oklahoma’s catfishing statute.  This is one of the first-ever civil statutes targeting catfishing.

Americanbar.org: “Catfish” Added to the Sea of Litigation

Online Eraser Law for the UK


Online Eraser Law for the UK

As some are aware, California has a law allowing juveniles to request that social media providers remove certain content posted by the juvenile.  The law is often referred to as the California Online Eraser Law.  I have previously discussed this law here.

It appears that the Online Eraser law is gaining in popularity at least in the U.K. where the British Prime Minister recently announced plans to introduce a version of the law in Parliament.  The proposed UK law goes beyond merely allowing juveniles to expunge content; it also imposes fines on social media providers that fail to prevent users from accidentally coming across pornography, hate speech, and other harmful material.  In addition, this legislation requires social media providers to remove “inappropriate, bullying, harmful or illegal content” that has been flagged.

To read more about this proposed legislation go here.