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Social media and reputation management: a new legal and communication landscape June 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Social media and reputation management: a new legal and communication landscape June 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social media and reputation management: a new legal and communication landscape June 2014

2 Jonathan Hemus Insignia Communications Magnus Boyd Hill Dickinson Introductions and welcome

3 Today’s webinar A new landscape Recent legal developments Managing third party comment Managing “official” online content Managing online content posted by employees Legal and communication teamwork Questions

4 A new landscape Image from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s report “Containing a crisis: Dealing with corporate disasters in the digital age”, November 2013

5 A new landscape: Speed of dissemination - legal implications “we recognise that as a consequence of modern technology and communication systems any such stories will have the capacity to “go viral” more widely and more quickly than ever before. Indeed it is obvious that today, with the ready availability of the world wide web and of social networking sites, the scale of this problem has been immeasurably enhanced, especially for libel claimants.... In our judgment... this percolation phenomenon is a legitimate factor to be taken into account in the assessment of damages” Cairns versus Modi

6 A new landscape: Speed of dissemination - communication implications Scenario planning – re-visit your reputational risk assessment in light of increased risk & likelihood of crisis Capacity development – speed of social media necessitates the creation of capability and resources beforehand Never compromise credibility - speed is desirable, accuracy is essential

7 A new landscape: The ability to publish anonymously "I have no hesitation in finding that the balance weighs heavily in favour of granting the relief sought. To find otherwise would be to give the clearest indication to those who wish to defame that they can do so with impunity behind the screen of anonymity made possible by the use of websites." Judge Owen, Totalise plc versus Motley Fool Ltd

8 Recent legal developments

9 Limitation period for online publications – One year time limit UK Defamation Act 2013 – Procedure for taking down defamatory material

10 Recent legal developments The right to be forgotten (EU ruling) – Right to removal of “irrelevant, outdated or otherwise inappropriate content” – Only applies to search engines (not original publisher) – Only applies in EU Publicity orders – Successful libel claimant can request that defending company published their wrongdoing online

11 Recent legal developments: Publicity orders – communication implications Pro-active reputation management programme – build reputational credit and strong relationships Communication planning for the legal process – shape the narrative rather than be a victim of it

12 Applying copyright laws to social media To re-publish copyrighted material without a license or permission is a breach of copyright Copyright attaches to any original work e.g. a press release, slogan or catchphrase Defence of 'fair use' applies when citing a limited amount of the material for criticism or reporting current events Material may still be copyrighted even if there is no copyright symbol Just because the work has been posted on another website does not mean your re-publication would not be in breach No defence if you are not intending to use the work for commercial gain Giving the author a credit is no defence

13 Nestle versus Greenpeace

14 Nestle versus Greenpeace: learnings Aggressive moderation can make a bad situation worse – train and rehearse Take legal and communication advice – just because you can take legal action doesn’t mean you should Scenario plan from the activist’s perspective

15 Managing third party comment

16 Managing third party comment: Legal options Identify source of attack Request immediate removal of content Sue in libel Act quickly to remove defence of “innocent dissemination”

17 Managing third party comment Use social monitoring tools to track the source of comments Actively moderate content Create a terms-of-use policy Remove inappropriate material Decide whether or not to explain removal

18 Managing third party comment: Communication implications Reputational risk audit: identify and prioritise likely risks and issues Stakeholder mapping: identify and analyse friends & foes who can influence reputation Scenario planning: consider how key risks might play out Behaviour change: change the way you operate to reduce the likelihood of criticism Perception change: reputation management programmes seek to alter the way stakeholders view your organisation Contingency planning: issues/crisis management procedures, people, training and resources

19 Managing “official” online content

20 Prevention is better than cure: do not publish anything that you cannot verify as true Every re-publication gives rise to liability: no safety in publishing something that someone else has published. Don’t try to circumvent the law with thinly disguised references Be cautious when commenting: Any statement must clearly be ‘comment’ with a factual basis, objectively fair and in the public interest

21 Managing “official” online content: Communication implications Don’t ignore the opportunity that social media provides with an overly risk averse approach

22 Managing online comment posted by employees

23 Social media policy: Legal guidelines Course of employment Guidelines for posting Unacceptable content: – Anything obscene, defamatory, private – Anything that breached intellectual property rights (eg trademarks and copyright) – A catch-all like ‘anything that would bring the organisation into disrepute’ – Anything that you know to be false – Anything that would disrespect or breach the rights of fellow employees

24 Social media policy: Making it real Create, brief, embed

25 Legal and communication teamwork

26 Different expertise, same objective Best advice – CEO to decide Trust and respect based on pre-existing relationship Joint involvement in planning/training: – Reputational risk assessments – Scenario planning – Crisis simulation exercises Pre-agree approval process

27 Protecting your reputation from a social media crisis

28 Contact details Jonathan Hemus, Insignia Communications Website: Phone: +44 (0) Download our report here:

29 Social media and reputation management: a new legal and communication landscape June 2014


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