Media & Communications Law

Tweets Create Legal Issues for Lawyers and Employers

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Although the social networking phenomenon is so new that best practices are still being developed, Twitter “tweets” are a potential litigation minefield for attorneys, their employers and other businesses.

By answering, in 140 characters or less, the question “What are you doing now?” corporate and professional employees “may convey proprietary information, may reveal other privileged or private information and may expose the company to claims of defamation or harassment,” writes Jones Day partner Steven Bennett in a cover story for the May issue of the New York State Bar Association Journal.

Among his safety suggestions: Lawyers and law firms should be especially wary of confidential information and communications that could be considered solicitations for clients, he writes. They might even want to notify recipients periodically about their personal Twitter terms of use.

On the corporate side, employers also need to establish standards for business-related Tweets and should consider monitoring Twitter use during company time and via company communication systems.

Related coverage: “Think of Twitter as ‘Megatexting,’ But Proceed With Caution”

ABA Journal: “Much Chatter About Twitter”

ABA Journal: “Twitter Resources”

CIO: “Twitter Tips: How to Safely Blend the Personal and the Professional”

Updated May 28 to correct that tweets can be up to 140 characters per post.

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