Beware what you "say" on social media sites

2013-12-22 06:54

We may be on holiday during which we are liable to shed our inhibitions and usually impeccable conduct and mannerisms. This is the time especially when tongues and hidden thoughts and beliefs get lubricated, so what I have posted here is worth reading and heeding.

I sincerely hope, my wise and caring followers and subscribers, that you, your friends and their friends heed this very serious issue.Ignorance is not an option as one employee who posted what seemed an "innocuous" statement on twitter cost her her job. Yes, she was fired. Although this was based on American labour law and company policy, SA law, is abreast with international developments and good practice directives and regulations.

Be wise.

I have always held the firm opinion that what we post on twitter and/or facebook have serious, repeat,serious consequences. This, as well as the matter I refer to in the next paragraph gainsay how social media sites are becoming ad have become platforms for inappropriate comments bordering on slander,libel or defamation. Apart from that little do social mediaphiles realise that every word written or "uttered" on social media sites can prove to be toxic.

There was a case about which I tweeted and posted on facebook as well as mentioned in an blog piece earlier this year about an ex-wife who successfully sued her ex-husband and his wife for defamation and she was awarded damages in the sum of R40,000 and costs! Both the ex-husband, who did not post that status message but allowed his wife to post it on to his facebook page and his wife by second marriage were "jointly and severally" liable to pay.

As lawyer engaging the media and involved in media and constitutional/human rights issues I been watching and reading with alarm how neglectful or vicious or venomous social mediaphiles can be. Developments in our law as well as bearing in mind decisions handed down in our courts must place everyone on warning.

This is a social service I am rendering for the community. I hope and pray that it is taken in that spirit.

Saber Ahmed Jazbhay

22.12.2013

For regular updates on developing legal as well as contemporary issues follow me on twitter @jazlaw24

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