February 14, 2017 by Student 24/7 Blog
Nowadays, when something happens; it seems completely normal to post it on Facebook, Tweet about it, filter the heck out of it and publish on Instagram; and not think twice about the consequences. I mean… It’s just a little post… What could possibly happen? It seems A LOT can happen. Yes, even jail time if need be.
Now this is not to scare you and make you delete every single social media platform on your phone in the next few minutes, but rather, to just give you a heads up on the bad that comes with the good of social media.
Dr Lizzie Harrison, who works with Social Media Law expert Emma Sadleir, visited the Campus to present The Retweets and Likes of Life: Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media. Dr Harrison explained that while we have laws that work with social media, they are unfair and outdated, but all should still be known so as to avoid falling into any of the pitfalls.
But before discussing these laws, it is also important to understand Freedom of Speech, as they fall pretty much hand-in-hand, and with social media as well. The reason for this is that, what many post online is seen as being ‘allowed’ as it falls in with their Freedom of Speech. But Dr Harrison reminded the students that “Freedom of Speech in not an unlimited right, in any country in the world.” As soon as your Freedom of Speech infringes on someone else’s Rights to Dignity, Privacy, Reputation, or any other Right in the Constitution, then your Right to Freedom of Speech has ended. So you must remember, while Freedom of Speech is limited, we all have that freedom, but must know how to use it wisely, even on social media.
Remember that anything you post on social media, if even seen by only one other person, is seen as published content. As if you had printed it on the front page of a newspaper. And in the eyes of the law; you are liable for ALL of that content. As a heads up… WhatsApp is also seen as a social media platform (and what you type and send can be used against you in a court of law).
Once the students REALLY started to pay attention to the info Dr Harrison had to say after THAT bombshell, she went on to explain some of the laws that might come into play when dealing with social media, such as Chain of Publication, Defamation, Privacy, Code of Conduct and Sexual Offenses (which will all be explained a little more in the next blog post).
During the presentation, you could see a few students taking out their phones and, more than likely, rechecking and deleting a few things they may have posted (or that someone else posted on their pages). It was at this time, where Dr Harrison reiterated that “there is no point in deleting all your social Media, that would be silly; you just need to know how to use them properly.” She also explained that social media platforms can also be a great marketing tool, as not only your friends are looking at your social media, but also lecturers and future employers.
It doesn’t matter on which platform you are on, or if not on any at all; you need to remember that they exist, and if not used properly can be detrimental to your present and future. BUT if you know how to take care of your pages and posts, social media could be the BEST advertising tool you have in your arsenal.
So… go on. Have a look at your Facebook page… Recheck your posts, and have a look at what other people are posting that lands on your page (which can also get you in trouble BTW). Open your Twitter page and recheck your Tweets and retweets. Think twice before you send a message to someone on your WhatsApp, in case it comes back to bite you later…
And always remember: If you wouldn’t want it on a billboard for the whole world to see… Then rather leave it off your social media pages as well.