Archives: Social Media

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FDA to Drug Companies: We Are Watching – Even on Social Media

The FDA recently issued a warning to a Swiss drug company for failing to include on its Facebook page a product's risk information and limitations. Although this type of enforcement activity involving drugmaker conduct on social media has been rather uncommon, it is a stern reminder for companies that the FDA is monitoring activity, and that its marketing and advertising rules apply to product promotion over social media networks as well. For additional information on this story, read the latest post on our firm's Life Sciences Legal Update blog.… Continue Reading

Join Us for ABA Webinar on Social Media in Consumer Finance

As part of the American Bar Association's Consumer Financial Services Committee monthly webinar series, Reed Smith attorneys Stacy K. Marcus and Travis P. Nelson will be leading a discussion tomorrow, Wednesday, February 12, 2014, examining the effect of social media on the consumer finance industry, including how social media can and should be used by the industry and how to apply existing laws to this dynamic and evolving medium.… Continue Reading

Facebook Relaxes Guidelines for Promotions

In an effort to make administration of promotions on Facebook easier, the social media site released new rules permitting Facebook Page owners to host promotions and giveaways on their Page timelines. While hosting a promotion on a Page timeline is certainly more convenient and likely more cost effective for businesses from an administration standpoint, it does have disadvantages that businesses should keep in mind, such as the inability to require users to agree to Official Rules of the promotion and the inability to collect personal data about participants.… Continue Reading

ASA stumbles upon age-old problem

The ASA has released a survey which was commissioned to establish what advertisements were being accessed and seen by young people online. The 27-page survey focuses much of its attention on the engagement by young people of social media platforms and, perhaps unsurprisingly, establishes that a significant proportion of young people register with social media … Continue Reading

NLRB GC’s Office Says Employers May Not Unilaterally Implement Social Media Guidelines

The NLRB’s General Counsel’s office recently released its latest Advice Memorandum on social media, publicizing its position that employers may not unilaterally implement social media guidelines without first bargaining with unions. In addition, the Memorandum determined that a rule prohibiting photographs or videotapes of the employer’s premises to also be unlawful, finding that such a … Continue Reading

The Risks of ‘Native Advertising’

Kim Kardashian is notorious for setting Twitter trends with her fashion-forward tweets. But would a consumer buy the same product knowing she was paid up to $20,000 for tweeting it? The term "native advertising" refers to when an advertiser masks ads as editorial content in an effort to market more seamlessly to consumers. The intent behind this practice is to make advertisements less intrusive and to associate a brand with an experience.… Continue Reading

FDA Knows Time Is Running Out on Internet and Social Media Guidance

In a recent interview published by Pharmalot, the Director of the FDA Office of Prescription Drug Promotion (OPDP), Thomas Abrams, indicated that the long-waited draft guidance on the promotion of medical products using the Internet and social media is forthcoming. According to Abrams: "The development and issuance of guidance for social media is among the highest of FDA's priorities." With other agencies issuing social media guidance over the past year (e.g., FTC, SEC), it is hard not to believe Abrams. However, some skepticism is warranted because the industry has been waiting for FDA's promises about forthcoming Internet-related guidance for almost two decades now...… Continue Reading

FTC Revises Guidelines for Online Advertising

Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released updated guidelines (PDF) for regulating unfair and deceptive trade practices in online marketing. The ".Com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising," were released in 2000, before the meteoric rise of social media marketing and the advent of smartphone advertising. As the evolution of these two areas has drastically changed the way brands communicate with consumers and blurred lines between corporate and word of mouth advertising, the FTC saw a need to extend these guidelines to cover all online, social and mobile marketing.… Continue Reading

FFIEC Releases Guidance on Social Media Use by Financial Institutions

This week, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council ("FFIEC") released its proposed guidance to help financial institutions understand and address the risks associated with social media activities. All banks, savings associations, and credit unions, as well as nonbank entities supervised by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state regulators should review their current and expected … Continue Reading

Facebook Tries to Settle ‘Sponsored Stories’ Class Action . . . Again

Earlier this year, we analyzed some privacy considerations with a class action lawsuit against Facebook accusing the social media giant of violating the rights of users through its "Sponsored Stories" advertising program. Per the Complaint, Facebook would not only display such ads, but would also use the "names, photographs, likenesses, and identities" of Facebook users to help promote the product to friends of those users. The Complaint alleged that a user would be associated with a product by choosing to click a "Like" button, and would then be automatically associated with the corresponding ad campaign, without compensation and allegedly without the user's consent.… Continue Reading

We’re Tweeting!

ReACTS is now on Twitter! For those of you who use the service, follow us @ReACTS_AdLaw for regular updates and musings on the world of advertising and marketing and the ensuing legal issues.… Continue Reading

Using Celebrity Endorsements in Social Media: Should you #JustDoIt?

Advertisers are using social media platforms such as Twitter to reach an unprecedented number of people cheaply and instantaneously. With some celebrities enjoying a following of over a million fans, advertisers have found a new way to maximise the traditional celebrity endorsement model and extend the reach and exposure of their promoted goods and services … Continue Reading

NLRB Decision Guides Administrative Law Judge’s Invalidation of Social Media Policy

An NLRB Administrative Law Judge, following the lead of the NLRB and its recent decision in Costco Wholesale Inc., invalidated the social media and other employment policies of EchoStar Corp. The policies deemed improper prohibited employees, in part, from disparaging a company on social media sites. The ALJ agreed with the NLRB General Counsel's argument that a generic clause in the employee handbook that employees were free to exercise their rights under the National Labor Relations Act was insufficient to bring the rules within compliance with the Act. Given the Board's decision in Costco and the General Counsel's campaign against such policies, we expect more decisions at both the ALJ and the Board level invalidating employment policies limiting employee speech, regardless of the forum.… Continue Reading

NLRB Rejects Social Media and Confidentiality Policies

The National Labor Relations Board's recent decision in Costco Wholesale Inc., invalidated certain personnel policies, including social media policies, protecting the dissemination of employee health information and personal identifiers. This case marked the NLRB's first decision involving its independent General Counsel's interpretation of federal labor law as it applies to social media and other personnel policies. The decision (profiled here by Joel Barras) signals the NLRB's agreement with its chief prosecutor's attack on commonly adopted policies regarding, among other things, confidentiality of company information, and follows the series of reports issued by the NLRB General Counsel on social media.… Continue Reading

Facebook Rapped Again Over Privacy

It’s the latest set-back for social media behemoth, Facebook. After a rocky three months since its IPO where investors have seen shares fall by around 50%, a German advocacy group has accused the social network of violating privacy laws. The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) has demanded that Facebook obtain an explicit consent before … Continue Reading

FTC to MySpace: Watch What You Do in Consumers’ Space

On Tuesday, the FTC approved a final order and consent decree settling charges that MySpace misrepresented its protection of users’ personal information. The settlement bars MySpace from future misrepresentations about its privacy practices, and requires MySpace to implement a comprehensive privacy program with regular, independent privacy assessments for the next 20 years. For more information, … Continue Reading

A Growing Trend – Employers Prohibited from Requesting Employee or Applicant Social Media Log-In Information

Earlier this year, Maryland enacted Labor and Employment Code §3-712, becoming the first state to pass a law explicitly prohibiting employers from requesting or requiring employees or applicants to disclose their usernames and passwords for their personal social media accounts. The law also prohibits an employer from discharging, disciplining, or penalizing the employee (or threatening to do so) or refusing to hire an applicant for refusal to disclose this information.… Continue Reading

Facebook and Lamebook Settle Trademark Dispute

On August 25, 2011, Facebook and Lamebook, a self-described “fun humor blog” which highlights funny, absurd and “lame” things people post on Facebook, settled their trademark dispute. The dispute began in early 2010 with Facebook sending Lamebook a cease-and-desist letter to change its name and stop using the Lamebook mark. After months of discussions between the parties, … Continue Reading

Facebook Gets In Your Face

This post was written by Spencer Wein. Facebook has rolled out a new feature that uses photo recognition technology to suggest friends’ names to tag in uploaded photos. While certainly an impressive feature, the problem is that the social network giant introduced the feature as a default setting rather than as an opt-in option. This has left … Continue Reading

Facebook’s Newest Revision to its Promotional Terms of Use

Facebook revised its promotion rules for sweepstakes and contests on the premier social networking site. These revised terms went into effect May 11, 2011. Communication About a Promotion Still OK Although the revised promotion guidelines define “communication” broadly, they do not add any new restrictions in this regard. Thus, as it was before, one may advertise on … Continue Reading

A Tweet Silences the Aflac Duck – A Case Study in Celebrity Agreements

Gilbert Gottfried is looking for gainful employment, and Aflac is looking for a new voice-over man. Gottfried was terminated Monday as the voice behind Aflac’s iconic duck when he tweeted jokes and one-liners over the weekend about the recent crisis in Japan that Aflac determined to be tasteless, inappropriate and insensitive. “Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis … Continue Reading
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