Over the years we have seen a steady increase in the amount of court cases involving social media. According to the Office for National Statistics there were 5.2 million “fraud and computer misuse offences”, causing courts across the country to take online crimes more seriously.
Many are predicting a rise in the prosecution for social media offences, with law professionals starting to accept that online harassment can have consequences in the real world. There is a common lack of understanding that individuals are legally responsible for what they say and do online, but any posts or content can be defamatory if it is false and derogatory and damages a company’s reputation by exposing them to “hatred, ridicule or contempt”.
On the other end of the spectrum, cyber-bullying, trolling and cyberstalking are all forms of online harassment and can count as a criminal offence.
Despite social media becoming increasingly relevant to modern legal practice, it is not yet an area of law. However, it is important that any lawyer specialising in a specific area of law should know some of the ins and outs of social media for when it inevitably crops up.
Social media can be a significant issue in many cases. For example, any employee who has access to company computers is able to share company sensitive information over the internet or to make statements online that could be defamatory towards a company. This is when a corporate lawyer or employment lawyer may want to refresh their knowledge of social media to help them with their case.
There is no doubt that as we make a bigger move towards digital, social media law will become a new specialism to keep up with the impact that social media has on regular court cases and to keep up with the increase in criminal activity on the internet.
If you are worried about how social media may impact your business and don’t have the resources to keep up, then get assistance from a professional lawyer today.