On August 15, Danielle A. Singer and her company Project Therapy, LLC (dba Therapy Threads) filed a class-action complaint against Facebook, Inc. over its claims concerning ad audiences. According to the Complaint, Facebook overstates its audience metrics in order to induce advertisers to spend money on ads on the platform. The plaintiffs allege, in part, … Continue Reading
Responding to news reports that journalists were able to purchase advertising on Facebook targeted to ethnic groups, Facebook announced several new changes to the company’s advertising products. The move highlights heightened scrutiny of advertising practices surrounding the increasing use of big data in many aspects of marketing and advertising. Facebook’s response grew out of a … Continue Reading
Sensitive to the expanding diversity of the online community, the world’s largest social network has taken a step to curb highly contentious postings. On March 16, Facebook revamped its community guidelines, detailing what is and is not acceptable behavior on the site. With social media playing an ever-increasing role in the news and current events, … Continue Reading
A recent district court case reminds companies and brand owners to establish clear guidelines or contractual rights with respect to brand-related social media pages' administration and ownership.
Plaintiff Stacey Mattocks independently ran an un-official Facebook fan page which focused on the TV show the "Game". After Black Entertainment Television network (BET) acquired rights to the TV show, it hired Mattocks to promote and grow the brand on the page and provided exclusive content and IP to Mattocks. During Mattocks' employment, the number of page "likes" grew from 2 million to 6 million. Mattocks had granted BET full access to the page to update content but later, during a dispute involving Mattocks' terms of employment, Mattocks demoted BET's ability to access the page without her approval and claimed ownership of the page. BET approached the social media platform to regain control and Mattocks filed suit for various claims against BET (such as breach of contract and tortious interference with contract).
While social media platforms offer certain protections to companies and some include official or verification procedures, this kind of litigation and expense could have been avoided with more careful planning with respect to allocation of rights and ownership up front.… Continue Reading
A recent Facebook Platform Policy change may affect the way many promotions are run on Facebook. The change, effective November 5, 2014, prohibits Facebook Page owners from requiring a user to "like" their Page in order to access content, such as entry into a contest or sweepstakes, via a Facebook application ("App"). Advertisers often use this technique, known as "like-gating," as a way to increase the amount of likes their Pages receive.
Facebook believes that a prohibition on like-gating will benefit both advertisers and consumers. In announcing the change, Facebook stated in a blog post: "[T]o ensure quality connections and help businesses reach the people who matter to them, we want people to like Pages because they want to connect and hear from the business, not because of artificial incentives."
A like can be valuable to an advertiser, regardless of whether it is generated organically or artificially. When a user likes a Facebook Page, the like may appear on the user's Timeline, stories from the Page may show up on the user's news feeds, and users may also appear in advertisements for that Page.… Continue Reading
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
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
Last week, Facebook announced some good news for businesses that use the social networking site to administer competitions, sweepstakes and other promotions. Under Facebook’s previous terms and conditions for Pages, the Facebook pages created and driven by "bands, businesses, restaurants, brands and celebrities" to connect with fans and customers, businesses were only able to make … Continue Reading
As social media has increasingly become intertwined with everyday life, it may be taking a couple steps further – this time in the U.S. courts. In recent weeks, we have seen that U.S. legislators and courts are gaining a greater acceptance towards the use of social media sites like Facebook to effect service of process. … Continue Reading
This post was also written by Christine Nielsen. Yielding to pressure from advertisers, ad agencies, the media, consumers, and, perhaps, the FTC, Facebook has agreed to place The Digital Advertising Alliance’s (DAA) “AdChoices” logo on ads served on its site via its FBX ad exchange. The move makes Facebook more accountable for educating users about online … Continue Reading
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
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
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
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 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
Ordinary Joes, footballers and even members of the clergy have all got themselves in hot water when making comments on Social Media sites. Twitter is on course to have 200 million users by the end of 2010. There are currently over 50 million tweets of 140 characters or less each day. However, as multinational corporations, … Continue Reading
If you can’t beat them, join them. News this week that Facebook and Myspace, two of the biggest rivals in the social media arena, are to form a rather unlikely alliance. Myspace has dubbed the move its “Mashup with Facebook”. The partnership will allow Myspace users to create a “personalised stream of entertainment content” by … Continue Reading
Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held public hearings to better understand the role of, and the risks associated with, the promotion and marketing of FDA-regulated products using the Internet and social media. The last such hearing of this kind (which focused solely on the Internet) was organized by the FDA in 1996; … Continue Reading
Once again, that truism that old habits die hard has been substantiated. The U.S. District Court of Northern California just awarded Facebook a $711 million judgment against the self-described “spam king,” Sandford Wallace, for violating the CAN-SPAM Act. The CAN-SPAM Act establishes the rules for sending commercial emails and bans “false and misleading” marketing emails. Wallace and … Continue Reading
It’s our pleasure to provide you with a link to an article written by Joe Rosenbaum that recently appeared on our sister-blog, Legal Bytes, describing yet another controversy over Facebook’s User Policy.… Continue Reading
Facebook announced last week the availability of a personalized Facebook URLs for individual profiles, e.g., www.facebook.com/[your name]. As discussed in our June 12 Client Alert, “Just When You Thought You Were Too Old for Facebook,” this latest offering from Facebook raises serious issues—issues that are typically encountered when technology collides with traditional intellectual property laws … Continue Reading