The use of social media is all pervasive at present during lock-down. Many of your employees may want to become Instagram famous. Some of your business competitors may want to share their opinions on LinkedIn. A fair proportion of your customers may want to share their reviews on Facebook. You yourself may want to vent on Twitter. 

Whilst the platforms are all very new, the desire to share opinions, views and portray an image are historic. Previously, people may have gossiped over the fence with their neighbours, sent letters to the local newspaper, or, worse still, presented slides of their most recent vacation to close friends. The opportunities for sharing much more widely abound.

With these opportunities come responsibilities, however. Employees may breach their duties to their employer whilst venting on social media. Your business may be affected by claims made by competitors, or unfair negative reviews or feedback on social media platforms from customers or supposed customers.

There are a whole spectrum of ways and means to address each of the above issues, ranging from using a 'gently-gently' approach all the way through to raising proceedings before the courts.

It is worth also being conscious of the risk of placing yourself in difficulty through your own social media usage.

It is a salutary lesson to impart that those who use social media should not think of their outpourings as shouting into a vacuum. Those who see the post may be offended or even defamed. You and your business's reputation may be harmed as a result. The missives do not disappear into the ether, either. Digital footprints are long lasting. We do not know quite how long lasting, but what we can be certain of is that they will be around for longer than we expect. It is currently very difficult to completely wipe your digital footprint. We do not know how effective this digital wipe will be in the years to come, with developments in tracking software becoming ever more sophisticated.

We would all be well advised to anticipate that any social media post dispatched may, at some stage, be referred to them later by an employee, customer, competitor or, worse still, a judge.

Some good advice might be to apply the three-point test before pressing send:

  • What is the purpose of framing this social media post?
  • Should I delay posting it until I have calmed down/reconsidered the matter?
  • How would I feel if an employee/customer/competitor/judge/my granny read this post?

We have experience in dealing with all the above issues and more. If you would like any advice or assistance in relation to such matters, please get in touch.


Craig Watt

Partner & Solicitor Advocate