Personal Posts: Are You Protected?

Have you ever posted a controversial comment on Facebook or Twitter, confident that you were protected by freedom of speech? You might want to think again. Social media liability doesn't just fall on companies, it also falls on individuals. Here are risks you may face when posting content online – and some real life examples.

Libel: Defined as "defamation by written or printed words," cases involving libel involve false written words that irrevocably damage an individual's reputation, career, or life. Remember that in some cases you may not just held be accountable for your own statements, but also for libelous statements your children make.

Copyright Infringement: While there may be few current lawsuits involving social media and copyright infringement, the numbers are likely to rise. New social media sites like Pinterest place new copyright responsibilities on users. If you are posting anything questionable, make sure you have full rights to any corresponding images.

Harassment: Before posting, think of these questions. Does what your posting impact the safety of another person? Does it impact the security of another person? And finally, does it infringe on the privacy of another? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, think twice before posting.

Breach of Contract:If you are an individual with any type of endorsement deal, you could be held responsible for your private commentary on social sites. Many contracts include provisions that forbid individuals from partaking in activities that "would bring the company ‘into public disrepute, contempt, or ridicule.'" Think twice before posting content that could violate this clause.

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