Is your online presence protected?

Written on the 9 January 2012 by Macmillans Waller Fry

Your online customer database may be at risk

A recent court case in California has highlighted the risk that employers face when entrusting their online presence to employees.

Using social media, businesses can amass quite a large contact database through 'Followers' and 'Fans' all of which can be potential leads in the future. However, a grey area has been exposed when employees combine their personal social media accounts with that of the business and its happening quite often.

In an attempt to get online, many businesses ask a tech-savvy employee to act as an online spokesperson without proper documentation and demarcation of ownership.

A recent article by Rachel Olding in The Sydney Morning Herald (29/12/11) speaks of Noah Kravitz, a Californian writer who is being sued by his former employer PhoneDog because he left the company and took with him 17,000 twitter followers that he had accumulated whilst acting as an online spokesperson for the company. 

The article further states that this case is likely to set a worldwide precedent regarding the ownership of social media contact lists. 

The legality of the situation revolves around whether the contact lists were considered confidential or proprietary - a difficult issue that you should document in your business.

If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Author: Macmillans Waller Fry


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