Lately Twitter has been a hotbed for celebrity feuds.  There were Iggy Azealea and Snoop Lion (aka Snoop Dog) going at each other because of a photo he posted of an albino woman with cornrows with the caption “Iggy Azalea No Make Up”, then Redfoo and literally everybody that’s been subjected to “Literally, I Can’t” and now more Iggy but this time duelling with Eminem because of his new song, Vegas, which contains sexually violent lyrics about her.

These catfights may be distasteful, but they usually get fought out in the court of public opinion only.  But if you’re a business using social media, then you need to be careful about what you say because overstepping can be expensive.

Example

The consequences of a commercial social media war were seen when swimwear designer, Leah Madden, went on Facebook to accuse Seafolly of stealing her designs and emailed the media about it. But it turned out that Seafolly had come up with the designs first. Awk.

Seafolly then issued two press releases saying that Madden had maliciously made those claims to injure Seafolly, which Madden didn't like one bit.

Seafolly and Ms Madden sued each other for misleading or deceptive conduct.

Who won?

They both did, but Seafolly was ordered to pay twice as much as Madden. Why?

Madden took down the Facebook posts a few days after posting them and it appeared that not many people had read her posts or media articles written about it.

Seafolly was hit harder because the press releases were published on several websites for an extended period of time and because of its reputation and strong position in the marketplace, which aggravated an already a serious allegation of malice.

Lessons

These days most business have a Facebook or Twitter account, so what you can you do to stay out of trouble?

  1. Vet your statements for any inaccuracies before posting comments about others, especially competitors.
  2. If you’ve posted a comment that turns out to be misleading, then remove it ASAP because the longer it’s up, the more trouble you’ll likely be in.
  3. If you have a Facebook page, make sure to regularly check content posted by third parties because you could be left on the hook for anything misleading they say.
  4. If you’re a big deal, try not to pick on the little guy because it could cost you big time.
  5. And resist the urge to get personal. That always ends in tears. Questions? Give us a call.