Social Crimes, Legal Pitfalls and Risks on Social Media

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Written by Admin User

Social Media Week Singapore (SMWS)



Companies are becoming increasingly at risk of information being leaked through the use of social media, causing serious legal implications.  Online users need to be careful with their words as there is no exception for defamation on social media (Defamation: “no defence” just because it’s posted online). Simply deleting a defamatory statement on social media does not equal full retraction or reduce liability. Disclaimers saying that you don’t represent the views of your company can help, but there are no guarantees.

Social platforms can be liable for the actions of users, especially when it comes to trademark or copyright infringement. New Data Protection Act in Singapore (still in-progress) is to safeguard individual rights and will affect companies collecting personal data through social media. Any infringement may cost up to SGD $1m. The Data Protection Act sets out guidelines regarding consent, purpose and reasonableness relating to data collection. Unauthorised reproduction of third party content on your own social media page may attract liability under the copyright act.

Companies with highly disengaged employees can often face big risks on social media. It is therefore important to beware of posting on personal social media profiles if they mention your company name; it then becomes a company matter. What about private profiles? Even though online posts are done on staff’s personal profiles, it may affect the company’s image. People don’t want to work at a workplace where there is a blanket ban on social media usage but a simple way to mitigate risk is to develop a social media policy, send out regular policy reminders to your staff and conduct training sessions to educate employees.





Here are our suggestions for good editorial content policy:       

  • Compose, construct and target the content by audience and demographic.
  • Engage with your audience by asking certain topical questions.
  • Get to know your influencers.
  • Learn when to engage…and when not to.
  • Build an honest relationship with your influencers.
  • Don’t go in with the hard sell.
  • Be realistic about the results you will achieve.
  • Listen to the conversations.
  • Have an opinion but don’t be defamatory.
  • Headlines matter so use catchy titles both from attention and search engine optimisation (SEO) perspective.
  • Be nice. This we could call the “common sense”-rule : watch what you’re saying, don’t insult anyone, don’t be obscene, don’t attack people personally, avoid inflammatory subjects – it’s obvious but it is a good reminder.
  • Add value and be relevant, to write about what the conversation is. Keeping comments topical- i.e. keep it relevant to the current conversation. Do determine what type of site you are blogging on.
  • Try not to re-post your comment more than once as this could be perceived as spam
  • Check spelling mistakes.
  • Follow up if someone has left a comment or question on it.
  • Keep track backs whenever possible.
  • Respect copyright.

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