Social Networking R.I.P.? Plus: How 140 Characters Can Get You Into a Lot of Trouble

This past week, we have devoted a number of posts to the intersection of law and social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. Were we too late? Are these familiar social networking sites already passé? According to this article from today’s Washington Post, sophisticated internet users are already looking for the next big thing.
For those who have learned that there can be a costly downside of the culture of stream-of-consciousness communication that social networks foster — this may not be bad news. Indeed, while social networking sites maybe on the decline, litigation involving the sites is just getting started.
What do you get when you combine creative lawyers with social-networking sites that allow users to instantly share their inner-most thoughts with online masses? Answer: Online defamation suits. At least two such suits have been filed and they are making headlines.
  • Music star Courtney Love learned how 140 characters can get you in trouble the hard way when she was sued by fashion designer Dawn Simorangkir over comments that Love made via Twitter and MySpace. Get the full story at ABC News.
  • When a Chicago woman who tweeted a complaint about her apartment management company, the company responded with a $50K lawsuit alleging that she damaged the company’s business reputation. Get the full story at Chicago Now.
It will certainly be interesting to see how courts receive these suits, but in the mean time — you better watch what you Tweet.

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