In a world where social media has become ingrained in our daily lives, it’s easy to post, share or tweet messages or content without considering the legal and social implications.
Can social media activity have legal implications?
Social media posts, messages, pictures, videos and conversations can have legal implications within Australian law. They can be admitted to court as evidence, are easily accessible and shared online and thanks to changes in the way we communicate, share our opinions that would previously be kept off the record.
Can social media activity impact your life?
Michelle’s post about her boss
Michelle was far from happy at work. After she experienced what she saw as unfair treatment from her boss, she took to social media to vent about his actions. This venting included some exaggerated and abusive statements. Her boss saw the comments online and Michelle lost her job.
Kevin was excited about his 21st party and shared the invite on Facebook with his address. Gatecrashers showed up on the day, entered the party and became violent, destroying property in the family home. The police had to be called.
These examples show how seemingly innocent content can have a negative impact on your life. Before sharing anything online, be sure that you are OK with the content being associated with you now and in the future.
Social media and legal action
It’s not uncommon for a tweet or a simple blog post to lead to legal action. The most common cause is defamation and in some cases compensation had to be paid.
What is defamation?
There is no quick and accurate definition, but within Australian law you are considered to have been defamed when words, spoken or written:
- damage your reputation according to normal people in community
- do damage to your profession or trade, or
- carry a strong link to you being excluded, avoided, teased and/or shunned.
See more defamation blog posts here.