Everyday, millions of people interact through social networking. Our opportunity to tweet, message, share or “like” involves increasing risks of exposure to what is called “social media liability loss.” The content you post on social media sites could get you into serious legal trouble, therefore, it is important to be aware of the threats and legal potential posed by social media to minimize or avoid your chances of loss. Such liabilities refer to claims due to libel, slander, harassment, invasions of privacy, violations of intellectual property rights and employment practices, resulting from the use of sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, blogs, etc.
Social media liability is not a commonly used term, so insurance policies generally refer to it as “personal and advertising injury.” There is some coverage available for personal and business exposures to losses. Most business insurance policies include protection for defamation and derogatory remarks, as well as invasion of privacy. Homeowners and renters policies will usually cover personal and advertising injury. A standard business may provide limited coverage because they refer to material published on the Internet or through other electronic communications. Coverage may also exist because protection for lawsuits involving libel and slander may make reference to defending against or covering claims due to incidents of publishing information in any manner.
Individuals who blog are more likely to be exposed to claims of defamation or invasion of privacy. For an example, frequent users of social media sites may post careless, defamatory comments about a current or former lover, especially after a divorce or disastrous break-up.
Social networking-related exposures are typically related to business activities. For an example, lawsuits may be created if business managers disclose any personal information about their employees. Most of these claims derive from personal networking-related exposures, including accusing individuals of crimes, infidelity, failure to pay child support, disclosure of personal or financial information, posting of pictures or videos, etc.
Considering the possible risks for businesses and the unlikelihood that individuals will avoid social media or blogging, umbrella coverage is recommended for additional protection. Individuals may engage in careless behavior that creates a claim, so it is important to think of the potential risks involved and realize that coverage for social media liability may become a necessary part of everyday life, similar to auto insurance or home insurance!
If you have any questions about your existing policy, are inquiring information about a possible future policy or need further information, please call us at (631) 738-7300 or get a quick quote at www.vrpinsurance.com
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