Archives: Social Media

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Ninth Circuit Upholds CDA Immunity Against Plaintiff’s Attempt to “Push[] the Envelope of Creative Pleading”

On Monday, a panel of the Ninth Circuit unanimously ruled that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) protected Yelp from liability relating to an allegedly defamatory user-generated review.  In doing so, the Court rejected several attempts by the Plaintiff to plead around the CDA’s broad immunity provisions by accusing Yelp of playing a … Continue Reading

ONC Report to Congress Identifies Gaps in Oversight of Privacy and Security of mHealth Technologies and Health Social Media

Today we published a post on the Covington eHealth blog regarding a recent report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC).  The ONC report highlights “large gaps” in policies and oversight surrounding access to and security and privacy of health information held by … Continue Reading

European Court of Human Rights Rules That Employers Can Monitor Employee Private Communications

On January 12, 2016, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that an employer who had monitored an employee’s private communications during working hours had not breached the employee’s right to privacy (under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights). This judgment will influence how other European national courts and regulators view … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Limits Criminal Law’s Reach to Social Media Posts; Avoids First Amendment Issue

In the U.S. Supreme Court’s first opinion involving social media, the majority held that posting a threat is not a federal crime without proof of the defendant’s mental state. Anthony Douglas Elonis posted rap lyrics on Facebook that contained violent statements about his wife, co-workers, a kindergarten class, and law enforcement.  He was charged with … Continue Reading

What the FTC’s Latest COPPA Settlements Mean for Mobile Apps

Making good on its warnings that mobile apps will be an enforcement priority under the revised Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (“COPPA”) Rule, the FTC has announced two settlements with mobile app developers: TinyCo., the developer of several child-directed mobile apps, will pay $300,000 to settle charges that it violated COPPA by collecting children’s email addresses through its mobile app … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Holds Facebook IDs and URLS Not “Content” under ECPA

Last Thursday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed dismissal of claims for violations of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”), holding that the plaintiffs had failed to allege Facebook and Zynga disclosed the “contents” of a communication, a necessary element under the Act. The court’s ruling applies to the consolidated … Continue Reading

Snapchat Settles FTC Charges

On Thursday, mobile messaging application Snapchat agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) charges that it made false or misleading representations about the ephemeral nature of its messages, the collection of user information, and the nature of its security practices. The FTC Complaint alleges six counts, many of which demonstrate the Commission’s aggressive enforcement of … Continue Reading

FTC Cole Haan Closing Letter: Encouraging Pinterest “Pins” in a Contest Can Trigger Endorsement Guidelines

In a closing letter declining to bring enforcement action against shoemaker Cole Haan, FTC staff stated that it believes “Pins” on Pinterest featuring a company’s products can constitute an endorsement of those products, and that if the pins are incentivized by the opportunity to win a significant prize in a contest, contestants should be instructed to label … Continue Reading

FDA Issues Untitled Letter Focused On Promotional Claims On Facebook

FDA has previously included claims made on Facebook or other social media platforms along with broader allegations of misbranding using a variety of sources in its enforcement letters . . . [b]y contrast, the present untitled letter focuses solely on a single statement on a Facebook page, and does not take issue with any statements outside the Facebook page.… Continue Reading

FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Postmarketing Requirements for Promotion on Social Media

On January 13, 2014, FDA issued a draft guidance document entitled “Fulfilling Regulatory Requirements for Postmarketing Submissions of Interactive Promotional Media for Prescription Human and Animal Drugs and Biologics.” This draft guidance addresses the procedural topic of submitting Forms FDA 2253 and 2301 when firms use social media such as blogs, microblogs, social networking sites, … Continue Reading

Key Takeaways from Last Week’s FTC Workshop on Native Advertising: Many Questions and Few Answers

By Katharine Goodloe and Morgan Kennedy Last week, the FTC hosted a public workshop on native advertising to examine how best to address occasions in which certain media outlets blur the traditional line between advertisements and editorial content.  The workshop brought together a collection of brand-name companies that use native advertising, content-placement companies that help … Continue Reading

FTC Denies First Request For More Flexible Parental Consent Methods

The FTC has denied AssertID’s request to recognize a new method for obtaining verifiable parental consent for the online collection, use, and disclosure of personal information from children under 13.  The application was the first of its kind to be filed since the FTC added a voluntary parental consent approval process to its revised rule implementing … Continue Reading

Texas AG Objections To Transfer of Personal Data Demonstrate Significance of Privacy Policy Disclosures

Last week, dating website PlentyOfFish withdrew its offer to buy bankrupt rival, citing concerns raised by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott that the sale would violate’s privacy policy and expose its members to unexpected privacy risks.  Two weeks ago, Abbott filed an objection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to block the proposed transfer of … Continue Reading

CA Governor Signs Bill Providing Online Protections For Minors

Earlier this month, we blogged about the California Senate’s passage of the bill titled “Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World”, which prohibits certain targeted advertising to California minors and requires that minors be allowed to delete materials they have posted online.  Yesterday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed the legislation, and it will … Continue Reading

First Amendment Protects ‘Liking’ on Social Media

A federal appellate court on Wednesday ruled that the First Amendment protects the act of “liking” on Facebook or other social media. In Bland v. Roberts, a sheriff’s deputy “liked” the Facebook page of the candidate who was challenging the incumbent sheriff in the upcoming elections. After the incumbent won re-election, the deputy was fired. … Continue Reading

Courts Recognize First Amendment Right to Social Media Use

A North Carolina appellate court recently held that a statewide ban on sex offenders’ access to social media violates the First Amendment.  The opinion is the latest in a string of recent federal and state court decisions to recognize a First Amendment right to access social media.  In 2008, North Carolina’s General Assembly enacted the … Continue Reading

New Jersey Restricts Employer Access to Employees’ Personal Online Accounts

New Jersey has enacted restrictions on the ability of employers to access employees’ social media accounts, becoming the twelfth state to enact such legislation. More than 30 state legislatures have considered bills on the topic in 2013, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. New Restrictions in New Jersey New Jersey’s new law, signed … Continue Reading

CA Legislature Passes Bill Establishing Online Protections for Minors

Last Friday the California Senate unanimously passed legislation titled, “Privacy Rights for California Minors in the Digital World,” which prohibits certain types of marketing to minors (defined as a natural person under the age of 18 residing in California) and allows minors to delete materials they have posted online.  The bill, which already cleared the … Continue Reading

Federal Court Finds Stored Communications Act Applies to Facebook Wall Posts

A New Jersey federal court recently held that an employee’s Facebook wall posts were protected by the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”), 18 U.S.C. § 2701 et seq., in one of the first cases to analyze the SCA’s application to the Facebook wall.  Ehling v. Monmouth-Ocean Hospital Service Corp.., No. 2:11-cv-3305 (WMJ) (D.N.J. Aug. 20, 2013).  An … Continue Reading

The NLRB Strikes Down Employer Policies on Social Media and the Confidentiality of Complaint Investigations

Many employers have been surprised by recent rulings that two common employment policies run afoul of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) even if their employees are not union members.  Based on a legitimate interest in preserving confidentiality and privacy, many employers have adopted social media policies limiting what employees may post on Facebook or … Continue Reading

Twitter Releases Bi-Annual Transparency Report

Twitter recently released its bi-annual transparency report, detailing the number of requests that the company has received from governments for user information or to take down content.  According to the report, the company received 1,157 requests for user information in the first six months of 2013, the highest amount since Twitter began releasing its report.  … Continue Reading