Emma Sadleir
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Emma Sadleir and the Law of Social

I was first introduced to Emma Sadleir‘s practical concepts around the law and social media when working at Cerebra.

I found her concepts, truly on point. Though I usually try and find a way around most rules, as some feel trivial or silly when aligned to the greater good, the way she explained how social media and the law of the land interplay I found fascinating and concrete.

Social media has moral, ethical and legal limitations, although most of us may choose to ignore them, seeking real legal help may not be a bad idea, the same rules apply as in real life, I think a lot of people feel that the internet has no master, and that is simply not true.

I got to hear Sadleir talk again recently at the My World of Tomorrow Africa event, and she reiterated on a lot of points:

We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media, the question is how well we do it.

“I got my first cellphone when I was 16, and I was one of the first people to get a phone, but I look back and see how advanced it was, and I could phone people, and sms people and play snake, and that was awesome.”

“But looking at the standard of phones now, means that as soon as you have an internet connection, you can access everything all at once on any publicly accessible platform.”

“You used to be able to be able to send a letter, and really think something out before sending it, now, it’s instant and immediate. You may regret that tweet in a few hours, but it’s too late, you are now accountable for it”

The law simply says, as soon as the content is seen, by anyone, in the eyes of the law the content is treated as if it’s on the front page of a newspaper, it’s published and is in the public domain.

“People have this idea, that what happens online stays online, but it’s wrong, the online world is the real world, not some gated community that what happens in the net stays on the net”.

Justine Sacco, is the poster child of what not the fuck to do on Twitter. #HasJustineLandedYet trended all the time she was in the air, around the world, when she landed the company she worked for had already released a press announcement denouncing her comments and noting that she no longer worked for them, when she landed, she was notified of her termination.

This isn’t so much the wild west anymore, everyone is accountable for everything they put online, whether they say it on their personal page or to their friends at the water cooler.

Bare in mind too, the chain of publication: you can get into huge amounts of trouble for other content that others have created, by sharing it and retweeting it and so on. You have to consider the primary published, and the secondary publishers.
The casual status saying that: “retweets are not endorsements” is wrong they are endorsements according to the law.

“You are responsible for every single word on your Facebook page. Because you have the ability to change what is on there, everything that remains there you are responsible for. You cannot share anything in a vacuum.

What does privacy mean to you? If you can show you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, you can take legal action against those people infringing on that privacy, but if it’s in a public space, it’s fine, unless you have requested for it not to be taken, then again you can take action.

Everyone’s privacy is different. The law says, that the more you guard your privacy, the more you have.

We live in a world where we are oversharing, we need to understand how everything will look when we share, and think wether or not it’s necessary.

If we are activity engaging on social media, we need to manage our reputation as we would in real life. Google yourselves and go from there.

Though, my limited synopsis of Sadleir’s talk only scratches the tip of the iceberg, Get her book: Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex and really delve into the pages of social media and the law.

What do you think?

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Written by Brett Magill


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