Facebook posts are regarded as an effective way to make your marketing messages go viral and boost your social media marketing efforts. However, the recent incident of how a school girl’s careless Facebook post broke a confidentiality agreement and caused her father to lose a settlement.
The former head of a private preparatory school had filed an age discrimination complaint when his work contract wasn’t renewed by the school. Eventually, he and his employer came to an $80,000 settlement with a confidentiality agreement that neither he nor his wife would talk about this settlement to a person other than his attorneys and professional advisers. Unfortunately, his daughter wrote a post on Facebook gloating about the settlement and sent it 1,200 Facebook followers, including the school’s current and former students. The school promptly sent her father a breach notice saying that would not be receiving $80,000 as he the confidentiality agreement had been violated. Though he filed a motion to enforce the settlement and a Circuit Court ruling granted him the settlement, the school appealed and the Third District Court of Appeal agreed that he had broken the confidentiality agreement and reversed the Circuit Court ruling.
This incident is a clear warning to the online marketers who use Facebook or any other social media marketing platform as their landscape. If you are not careful about what you say online, your reputation would be badly affected, or worse, you get sued for what you said if someone considers it offensive, false, misleading or slanderous.
Your Facebook posts can get you sued if they are:
- Defamatory – If you wrote a post about another person or business (say, your competition), which is completely untrue and tarnishes their reputation, then they can sue you for defamation. For example, the pictures posted on the Facebook page “The Secret Behind the Walls at Beaumont Animal Services” showed the life of animals kept at Beaumont Animal Services was not going well. The outraged institution initiated a lawsuit against the page’s administrators for posting what it called ‘false and malicious’ information.
- Copyright Violation – Posting copyrighted content on social media without permission can get you sued for copyright infringement even if it is shared by few of your friends. When you are sharing information or using copyrighted images, better give them credit.
- Private Information – Be careful when you post information about others without seeking their permission. If you are posting private information without authorization, you could face a lawsuit for privacy violations.
- Harassment – If you repeatedly post something on Facebook and it appears to be intrusive and threatening to someone, the person can file a harassment lawsuit.
- Breach of Contract – For most jobs, there are rules and regulations on what can be discussed in public and what cannot. These are specified in non-disclosure agreements that employees or contractors must sign. Violating this agreement could get you sued for damages.
So think twice before posting anything on Facebook whether it is for advertising or for marketing. If someone sued for your action on social networking sites, it would be quite difficult to salvage your reputation. You could end up paying a huge amount as settlement. If you are not sure how to use Facebook for your marketing, rely on a professional SEO company. A knowledgeable service provider would use the right strategies to enhance your online presence using legitimate tactics.