Social media business
Social media business – The issues for a lawyer
The main issues that arise in the social media business context from a legal perspective are: (i) defamation (ii) censorship, and freedom of expression (iii) copyright infringement (iv) trade mark infringement (v) breach of privacy (vi) Data Protection (vi) harassment and bullying (Cyberstalking).
This article is concerned with the impact of social media business with reference to its ability or not to promote democracy.
What is democracy?
Social media can be used to effect democracy that is true. Democracy is a tool by which choices can be made based on the consensus of the majority. So the idea is that if the majority decide on something then the fairest solution for all concerned is to go with the majority decision. With respect to social media potentially “democratising” the world, the idea is that social media has made the world fairer because the majority speak through social media as seen in the so called “Arab Spring”.
However what the majority want may not necessarily be fair. In certain circumstances minority interests, and values may be of greater importance for everybody. The fact that democracy is flawed is acknowledged by legislation protecting minority interests in most of the developed world.
What the Internet does which this article believes is far more important is that it is a great equaliser. The Internet equalises. It makes the world more equal which of course makes the world fairer without the potential tyranny of the majority opinion.
So the real good of social media business (like the Internet generally) is in the ability of the social network to equalise society including commerce. By supporting communities with common interests that create, collaborate and share content social media can provide a platform for any business to become recognised very quickly for its skills, and the quality of its products or services at a fraction of the marketing spend that it would have taken in the physical world. Crowd sourcing, advocates and other marketing techniques can promote a brand very quickly reaching thousands of members within a Facebook group for instance. Additionally, the free sharing of knowledge and other positive information promotes a fairer and more equal society.
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