The Legal Challenges of Social Media
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The Legal Challenges of Social Media

Edited by David Mangan and Lorna E. Gillies

Social media enables instant access to individual self-expression and the sharing of information. Social media issues are boundless, permeating distinct legal disciplines. The law has struggled to adapt and for good reason: how does the law regulate this medium over the public/private law divide? This book engages with the legal implications of social media from public and private law perspectives and outlines how the law, in various legal sub-disciplines and with varying success, has endeavoured to adapt existing tools to social media.
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Chapter 10: Social media in the workplace

David Mangan


The employment setting reveals much about the competing interests subsumed within the term ‘social media’. At the forefront of considerations is business reputation – a phrase which has been used as the basis for limiting workers’ speech. Focusing on UK law, to permit discipline for any form of social media remark (as is currently the case) would be inconsistent with the spirit of twenty-first-century developments in the common law understanding of defamation law that have expanded protection for speech. The argument here is that, following developments in defamation law, in the employment setting there must also be scope for remarks by workers on user-generated content platforms, while also protecting business reputation. Keywords: employment; discipline; defamation; business reputation; workplace speech

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