Technology

Social media and the law

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Social media and the law

Related tags: Social media, Contract, Police

Whether you are a social media guru or have never posted a tweet in your life, the platform is here to stay.

The past few years have seen a digital revolution, driven by ownership of smartphones, which according to research by Deloitte, now stands at 76% of the UK’s adult population.

And this revolution puts the oldest, most powerful marketing channel in history on steroids: word-of-mouth. Literally within a few seconds there can be comments about your operation – accompanied by photos – spreading online.

The use of photos can’t be underestimated. To quote Evan Spiegel, co-founder of Snapchat: “Historically, photos have always been used to save really important memories, but today pictures are being used for talking”.

Social media can be used in evidence

One of the obvious results in this revolution is that long gone are the days when the only photos of your premises appearing online were those taken and published by you.
Social media channels could contain images or videos of your premises; and ones that might not be entirely complimentary.

So it is best to keep an eye on your online presence. The police most likely will if there are any formal enforcement proceedings. And there have been cases where the police have used social media posts in their evidence.

8 tips that might help you

■ Google your own premises and set up alerts to keep up to date. Hootsuite is good for social media monitoring and most of it is free
■ Speak with your customers about how your premises are perceived on social media sites
■ Ensure promotions online could not be construed as being irresponsible under the mandatory conditions
■ If possible, remove any inappropriate postings on your social media pages immediately, and investigate any concerns arising
■ Take care that photos do not show what might be seen as potential breaches of your licence, for example, customers drinking outside or being admitted to the premises after a certain time, if these are prohibited under your conditions
■ When working with promoters, ensure their online content, so far as it relates to your premises is in line with your licensing and capacity restrictions. This is easy for the authorities or residents to get hold of and used to prove you are not ‘in control’ of your premises
■ A written contractual agreement with the promoter (covering online contents as well) may be necessary
■ It is always sensible to follow your local police and licensing teams’ social media pages, both off and online.

Related topics: Licensing law

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