Is your social media account really yours?

Nov 13, 2012

In the fast paced social media era, it is becoming almost impossible to decide who owns the rights to employees’ personal media sites, their contacts and their posts.  Do employers need to change the structure of their contracts to outline social media issues and how to keep up with those changes?

As those and similar questions are becoming very common among employees and employers, Daniel Lublin was asked to express his opinion on this issue in the recently published article in Law Times.  According to Mr. Lublin, a good rule of thumb for employers and workers to follow is that if the individual employee created and maintained the account for personal use, then it belongs to them.

“If it was created for the employer and the employer’s time with their resources, then the employer can claim ownership.”

However, the grey area presents itself when existing social media accounts are brought into new jobs.  This is a particularly contentious issue for employees with important public profiles where more explicit employment contracts would help clear up any confusion.

“Most haven’t gotten around to drafting contracts that say what belongs to who,” says Lublin.

The whole article can be read in the Law Times titled Focus: Who owns employees’ social media accounts?

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