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New Laws Pose Challenges to Social Media Company Efforts

April 5, 2019

Legal changes in multiple countries could change how a social media company is expected to do business, on both a local and a global scale. The appropriateness of relevant laws may be a matter of debate, but they reflect the fact that the internet in general is becoming a more tightly regulated place.

It was reported on Friday that Australia had a law that could land social media executives in jail if their platforms feature real violence. While clearly well-intentioned, this law has more in common with the European Union’s so-called “meme ban” than may be apparent at first. Depending on how each is enforced, it could cause those platforms to be much more proactive about blocking content that is even suspected of testing the limits of legality.

Countless articles have taken aim at that “meme ban” – a law that effectively directs platforms to assume infringement any time posted content exhibits similarity to copyrighted work. Many fear that this will muddy the waters of “fair use” and lead to web aggregators and social media sites pre-emptively blocking a wide range of otherwise acceptable material.

Any social media company that wishes to avoid unnecessary headaches for its clients must be aware of these sorts of legal changes and whether they affect regions of the world where those clients are doing business. This is not to say that a social media company must have legal experts on staff; but it must be willing and able to use an abundance of caution to prevent legal content from being taken down by nervous platforms.

And if those platforms’ policies prove to be even more far-reaching than the social media company expects, it must be prepared to fight takedown notices or make quick adjustments to its strategy. Any failure or delay in doing so could cost clients time and money, while preventing their social media content from reaching target audiences.

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