Social media is changing the regulation landscape for a number of industries. However, as companies and brands try to stay relevant by participating in online discussions, they must be mindful of preexisting rules and regulations that govern a great deal of the social engagement taking place. Even regulators struggle to understand evolving technologies and issue new guidance or adapt existing rules. The goal is to find a balance between complying with regulation and still finding opportunities to create engagement online.
In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary — we explore how companies within different industries are affected by social media regulations and how they are finding balance in a social world stifled, yet protected, by online regulation.
Delaware Schools to Be Barred from Students’ Social Media Lives (Law Blog/The Wall Street Journal)
With the development and expansion of sites like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and Twitter, a number of schools are taking an increased interest in their students’ use of social media sites both during and after school hours. Some colleges and universities have required students to download social media monitoring software on their personal electronic devices or accounts as a condition of their scholarship or athletic participation. Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that Delaware is on the verge of prohibiting schools from monitoring students’ social media activity without explicit consent. The state Senate unanimously voted to ban public and private schools from requiring students to allow access to their social media lives, the Los Angeles Times reported. Attorney Bradley Shear, who helped draft Delaware’s social media law, said “schools and employers that require access to social media are violating the First Amendment.”