Social media has been defined as “interactive platforms via which individuals and communities create and share user-generated content” andforms of electronic communication (such as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos)”.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have become an integral part of our everyday lives and have an important role to play in our social environment and help us keep in touch with others and stay informed of events around the world. Yet despite many of the benefits of social media platforms, these platforms also create opportunity for abuse and often bring out the worst in people, often without thought as to the consequences of their action.
Many people lose sight of the fact that the moment something is posted on social media sites, it is considered “published” and is therefore subject to the laws applicable to traditional media, such as newspapers. Accordingly, claims for defamation and hate speech as well as dismissal or disciplinary action for social media misconduct become very real possibilities.