Your employer might own your personal social media account
A federal court in Pennsylvania last week ruled on a lawsuit brought by a former employee who had sued because upon her departure the company changed her LinkedIn password and took over her personal account.
“Although employment with a particular company may help individuals build their [social media presence], it’s my belief that individual social media accounts are owned by the employee,” she said, adding: “This isn’t the case when it comes to business Facebook pages or Twitter accounts that are in the name of the company.”
A federal judge rejected the woman’s argument that her employer violated a federal anti-hacking statute when it took control of her LinkedIn account after firing her. The court ruled the harms cited by the plaintiff were too speculative to pass muster under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA). Details Here.
Another lawsuit playing out in a California courtroom could challenge whether businesses own social media accounts in their name.
PhoneDog, a website that reviews mobile devices and services, issuing Noah Kravitz, who left the company and took with him control of its Twitter account. The company is asking for $340,000 and control of the feed. Kravitz claims the account belongs to him.
A solid social media policy would help companies such as Edcomm and PhoneDog, as well as their employees, to avoid such legal entanglements, Collier said. She said such a policy “should lay out who owns what when it comes to all types of social media including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, company blogs, social bookmarking sites such as Delicious and StumbleUpon, as well as image-based social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest.”
Who Owns Your Social Media Account You or Your Employer?