Social media law: What you need to know

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Rachael Power
Community Correspondent
Sift Media
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Accountants using social media to keep in touch with clients, attract prospects to their websites, or simply to maintain presence need to be aware of the legal constraints that apply.

The increasing role of social media in accountants' lives elevates the importance of knowing how to behave and what not to say, as the wrong thing could get you into a lot of (costly) trouble.

The BBC's recent social media law update noted that more than 650 people in England and Wales faced criminal charges connected with comments they made on Twitter and Facebook in 2012.

The corporation's guide to Twitter law and related cases highlighed issues including:

  • Libel on Twitter
  • Reporting sex offences
  • Breaking court orders
  • Threats
  • Offensive comments
  • Injunctions and super-injunctions
  • Other offences (abusive comments, harassment, etc).

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28th Mar 2013 11:52

We are loosing our cherished right to freedom of speech

Soon everyone will need a lawyer at their side before they say anything.

What we need to do is to reduce the powers of the Police and others to interfere in the day to day discourse that is a rich part of all our lives.

Above all else we should have a right to offend.

The Police should get their own house in order before they interfere in people's lives.

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21st May 2013 10:18

I guess it depends which side of the fence you are on

If you are an attention seeker, or like causing trouble, then an anonymous post gives you the attention you crave, and hurts your victim, without any responsibility or comeback.

If you were falsely accused of some awful deed (eg. ripping off your own granny) then you would have a very different view, especially if those words were believed and the rumour became widespread.

If everyone were sensible, didn't abuse their anonymity, and stuck to facts, there wouldn't be a problem, but lots of people express opinions (or lies, which is even worse!) as if they were facts and this can cause great upset and confusion.

Freedom of speech is very important, but it is abused by some, and the abusers would be the ones responsible for its downfall, if that ever happens.

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21st May 2013 11:18


You still have the right to offend.  Good manners often stops us from doing so, and that's probably right.  Political correctness is essentially good manners for the very cautious.

You also have the right to tell the truth.  Truth cannot be libellous.  However sometimes people are offended by the truth, and to an extent that's their problem not ours. But we still ought to think first and make a balanced judgement about whether the need to be truthful outweighs the need to respect people's feelings.

Incidentally, anyone who can give good tax advice in 140 characters is a considerably better writer than I am.


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