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Posts Tagged ‘effects of social media

Please click here to read my masters thesis entitled, Sharing the Social Media Scene. I look forward to feedback!Sharing the Social Media Scene

Social media outlets are leading law enforcement to criminals in ways other forms of communication never could.  The legal implications of social media expand far beyond the negative infringements on copyright and defamation that have been covered in earlier posts, the implications of social media have also had their positive effects on the legal system. Laws continue to struggle to keep up with technology, however, they are making the jobs of law enforcement officials easier in many ways.  Criminals are using many social media outlets to communicate just like everyone else.  And like many other these criminals are not realizing how far their tweets and facebook status’ might go, or who might read them and where they might be used again them.

My posts have many times before mentioned how social media posts are being used in criminal trials to prove guilt or innocence.  The constant connectivity lends users to on many aspects of their personal lives, for criminals this is meaning they are leaving a trail.  According to a  recent Washington Post article, criminals, specifically gang members use of social media outlets, facebook and twitter in on the rise.  These groups are using the new media communication tools to share all kinds of incriminating information, and most of it is open for law enforcement to see relatively easily.  Officials use the anonymity of the internet and pose as young women to gain entrance into groups where they become privy to an ongoing conversation between members. (1) It is also common practice for social media services to comply with law enforcement requests, making their investigations run that must more smooth.

No matter the content users should always realize that the information they are posting can be used against them, in this case it is a good thing.  Officials are finding information through social media they never would have otherwise.  The increased use of social media among gang members may seem scary members of sites such as twitter and facebook, but it is good to know law enforcement agencies are closely monitoring the activities here. Just how law enforcement will continue to take advantage of the interaction taking place online is unknown, but it is clear this type of lead tracking works well and is being accepted as legitimate evidence, therefore it is likely they will continue to employ these tactics as well as explore further possibilities of social media tracking.

1) WATKINS, T. (2010, February 2). Use of Twitter, Facebook rising among gang members – washingtonpost.com. washingtonpost.com – nation, world, technology and Washington area news and headlines. Retrieved February 7, 2010, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/02/AR2010020200499.html

Athletes have been training all over the world for months, preparing for the 2010 Winter Olympics that will begin later this week.  This year viewers will see new options for following the games, many of them will come in the form of social media.  Twitter and Facebook pages for the games and many of its teams and athletes will be a flutter with news and results. Social media will play back up to NBC coverage, but will likely be taking a much more prominent role for viewers interested in the 2010 games in Vancouver.

Social media in 2010 is a powerful enough communication too for the Olympic committee to regulate how athletes use it.  Regulations and laws around the Olympics are strict and are revisited year-to-year to ensure equality among competitors.  This year, the committee decided that in order to protect infringements on copyrights and contracts athletes have restricted use of social media. They can use social media outlets, but exactly what they can post is restricted. Although it seems just what is and what isn’t acceptable maybe understood differently from athlete to athlete. A recent CNN story on this issues revealed that some athletes will be “benching” themselves from their twitter and facebook accounts in order to avoid complications.

The legal issues the Olympic committee is trying to avoid lie with endorsement contracts, sponsor references to those not partnered with the Olympics and the committees desire to avoid those who aren’t journalists acting as if they are.  It is interesting to see the committee honor journalists in ways they aren’t seeing as of late.  The Olympics is an event that should be reported by trained journalists, and not by the athletes themselves. In years past athletes wouldn’t have been able to report up to the minutes stats, feelings and news as they can today.  The article  outlines just how athletes should feel they can use social media services throughout the games.

“‘Athletes are free to blog during the Games,’ says Bob Condron, the Director of Media Services for the United States Olympic Committee. ‘And Twitter is just a blog that’s written 140 characters at a time.’

There are some restrictions on what athletes can do online during the Olympics. According to the IOC Blogging Guidelines for the 2010 Games, athletes and other accredited people must keep their posts confined to their personal experiences.

‘You can’t act as a journalist if you aren’t,’ says Condron. ‘You need to do things in a first person way.'” (1)

This article and the social media coverage around the games is another example of how social media use is requiring legal restrictions.  The Olympic committee did the right thing in thinking ahead about how athletes would use their social media outlets and how this could cause infringements on many Olympics sponsor regulations.  However, athletes have also been quoted saying they will be taking to social media to report on their Olympic journeys, it should be an interesting winter games, tune in on NBC or your favorite social media outlet!

1) McClusky, M. (2010, February 5). Athletes confused by Olympic social media rules – CNN.com. CNN.com – Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. Retrieved February 7, 2010, from http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/0

Source for my final paper on the legal implications of social media will include, but may not be limited to the following:

1)   Associated Press. (2010, February 4). House adds cell phone restricions to texting bill – BostonHerald.com. Mobile – BostonHerald.com. Retrieved February 7, 2010, from http://www.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view.bg?articleid=1230674&srvc=rss

2)   Barnes, S. (2006, September 1). Barnes. First Monday. Retrieved February 7, 2010, from http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1394/1312

3)   Goldsmith, J., & Wu, T. (2006).Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World. New York: Oxford University Press, USA.

4)    Solove, D. J. (2008). The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet. New Haven: Yale University Press.

5)    Tanneeru, M. (2009, November 17). Can the law keep up with technology? – CNN.com.CNN.com – Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. Retrieved January 23, 2010, from http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/11/17/law.technology/index.html

6)   Viscounty, P., Archie, J., Alemi, F., & Allen, J. (n.d.). Social Networking and the Law: Virtual Social Communities Are Creating Real Legal Issues. American Bar Association – Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice. Retrieved February 7, 2010, from http://www.abanet.org/buslaw/blt/2009-03-04/viscounty.shtml

7)    WATKINS, T. (2010, February 2). Use of Twitter, Facebook rising among gang members – washingtonpost.com. washingtonpost.com – nation, world, technology and Washington area news and headlines. Retrieved February 7, 2010, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/02/AR2010020200499.html

The use of cell phones and social media are widespread in a group of people who least prepared for the power they hold, teens.  teenagers use social media and cell phones in many ways, often they do not realize the consequences that can come from their actions using these technologies. Teens, usually include people ages 12 -17, these young people are still developing social skills and in 2010 technology is having a great impact on how this happens.  Their constant connection to one another provided through the internet and mobile phones is changing how they communicate. The factors are also forcing adults to look into what is happening in chat rooms and through text message conversations.

The most notable mention of teens and how they have been impacted by social media and mobile devices is sexting. Sexting, according to a Pew Research center article is, “the creating, sharing and forwarding of sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images by minor teens.” (1)

This phenomenon has hit headlines in many states as this provocative material makes the rounds to friends, and even in some cases families.  The exchange and sharing of this kind of material is detrimental to emotional development in teens. It is well-known that bullying can happen around body issues in teens, and the sending of a nude or nearly nude photo is open to all kinds of criticism in this age group.  It is also often the case the photo or message was sent to someone the user trusted, and this can cause teens to develop issues with trust. The sending of sexts is not a good idea for teens, and it is vital that these kinds of things are worked into school curriculum and talked about by parents.

According to the Pew Research study 75% of teens ages 12 -17 have cell phones and 66% use text messaging. Of this group 4% report having sent a sext, while 15% reported having received sexts. (1) These messages are not going unnoticed, as many legal cases have come about around them. The weight that comes with prosecution around sharing of this explicit material is heavy. While it varies state to state, it never goes without punishment.

“Teens are being charged with everything from “disorderly conduct” and “illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material” to felony “sexual abuse of children…, criminal [use] of a communications facility, or open lewdness.Legislatures in a handful of states are stepping in to consider making laws that downgrade the charges for creating or trading sexually suggestive images of minors by text from felonies to misdemeanors. In 2009, the Vermont and Utah state legislatures downgraded the penalties for minors and first-time perpetrators of “sexting.” Ohio has legislation pending to criminalize, at a milder level, sexting between minors.” (1)

Social media, texting and mobile phone use is likely going to continue to increase, and teens will continue to use these technology during a developmentally vital time. The above laws will continue to evolve as the ways in which teens are using and abusing these technologies done, however, it is vital that stay in the forefront of adults.  It is extremely important that parents and educators are up to speed on these technologies, not only how to use them, but how teens are choosing to use them.  Web 2.0 and smart phones are amazing technologies that hold a great deal of attributes teens can benefit from, but they will never do so without being taught. Both negative and positive uses of these technologies need to be made clear, let’s teach this generation how to best use the technology they are lucky to have.

1) Lenhart, A. (2009, December 9). Pew Internet & American Life Project. Teens & Sexting – Pew Internet & American Life Project. Retrieved January 31, 2010, from pewresearch.org/pubs/1440/teens-sexting-text-messages

The completion of this independent study around the legal implications of social media will be in the form of a research paper.  My of reading and research thus far  have made one thing clear, the legal system, is having trouble keeping up with technology, therefore I will work to research the following question:

How can the US legal system and its current communications acts handle the issues that have arisen—such as copyright infringement, users privacy, and defamation—considering the rapid growth of social media and networking?


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