via media release – 29 October 2014
While the continued rise of social media is delivering extraordinary benefits to the widest cross section of the community, it also exposes individuals and organisations to enormous risks making the newly published Social Media and the Law an essential reading not just for legal practitioners and academics but also business and corporate managers, HR departments and the broader business community.
For example, the chapter Social Media and Employment Law explores the balance between social media and workplace relations. At worst, employees face dismissal while employers who don’t have a comprehensive strategy on social media in place are at great risk. The reality is that social media blurs the boundaries of what can be considered ‘conduct at work’ and ‘conduct at home’, yet at the same time magnifies the consequences of ill-judged comments and actions. Existing workplace issues including bullying, harassment and vilification continue to take place on social media while the temptation for employers to use social media platforms as a means of pre-employment screening and workplace surveillance raises fresh issues.
Social Media and Privacy looks at an individual’s right to privacy in face of social media’s power to broadly disseminate all manner of personal and private information.
Already, high-profile defamation cases arising from social media have begun to illustrate the perils involved for social media authors and their subjects. Numerous ‘twibel’ cases in the UK have sought to redress damage wrought by libellous comments on Twitter, while Australia has recently seen its first social media defamation case proceed to determination resulting in a judgement for $105,000 and copious media coverage.
All online behaviour is subject to Australian state and federal laws and the chapter on Social Media and Criminal Law explain how harmful communications may breach the criminal law and the dire consequences of that, citing real live cases to drive home the point.
In addition to employment law, privacy and defamation, the book also analyses social media developments relating in competition and consumer laws, copyright and litigation.
“Social Media and the Law is not just for lawyers,” explains LexisNexis Pacific’s Chief Operating Officer Dr Marc Peter. “It is the new frontier in communications and as with all new frontiers it is fraught with risks. And while most are generally aware of the old rules, how they apply is a very different matter making Social Media and the Law essential reading for providers and users.”
Social Media and the Law is published by LexisNexis Butterworths and is available online at https://store.lexisnexis.com.au/ as well as all academic bookstores around the country.