Doug / 11-19-2013 / Consumer Safety

Social Media: Creating a New Stream of Advertisements and Lawsuits

As technology advances so must the law in order to provide remedy disputes involving social media and other internet claims. Advertising on social media has presented a new way for companies to gain attention of possible consumers.

Social media websites like Facebook and Twitter are increasingly popular among users and this drives the desire to tap into this route to consumers. Those familiar with the workings of these sites and who have experience creating and maintaining profiles on social media sites are being hired to assist in promoting programs, companies, and brands on these sites.

Stacey Mattocks, who works as an insurance agent and happens to be a media maven, created a Facebook for promoting The Game, a program about the lives of football players that premiered in front of 7.7 million viewers in January 2011 on Black Entertainment Television. She created the page and after the stunning success experienced by the program BET attempted to reach an agreement with her for purchasing the Facebook page, as well as a Twitter account she had created.

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There was never an agreement reached to actually transfer ownership, Mattock alleges. She did however agree to operate the Facebook page jointly with BET, hoping to deter any attempt to have the page taken down. Mattock asserts that BET did have her page disabled by misrepresenting its control of the page to Facebook and having portions of the page copied to a page BET maintained control and ownership of.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Mattock brought a federal law suit alleging that BET stole 6.78 million Facebook “Likes” from the Facebook page she had created to promote one of its programs. She argues the Television station tortiously interfered in her relationship with Facebook and insisting that the likes be transferred to BET’s Facebook page.

BET asserted in filing that, “The conversion claim fails at the outset because a ‘Like’ is not personal property in which Plaintiff has any possessory interest. As the Facebook page itself makes clear, a Facebook user who bestows a ‘Like’ upon a piece of content or a Page on Facebook remains in control of the ‘Like’ at all times and is free to ‘Unlike’ the Page or content as the user sees fit… To the extent a ‘Like’ is anyone’s ‘property’ it belongs to the Facebook user”.

In addition to the tortious interference claim Mattock is claiming a breach of contract, breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing and copyright infringement.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by tortious interference with a social media website, breach of contract or copyright infringement contact us today!

Wooten Kimbrough, P.A.  Orlando Injury Attorneys

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