A New York advisory (@jordanzakarin on Twitter).
Solid overall life advice, too pic.twitter.com/UByBgiRdFN
— Jordan Zakarin (@jordanzakarin) August 1, 2016
Unless you’ve bought an official sponsorship, for your business to so much as mention the upcoming Olympics on social media “can be like doing the 100-yard dash through a minefield.” The rules warn non-sponsors not to “create social media posts that are Olympic themed… or congratulate Olympic performance” even if you have sponsored individual hopefuls, wish luck, use phrases like “go for the gold” or “let the games begin,” report Olympic results, host Olympic-themed team-building exercises for your employees, or “share anything from official Olympics social media accounts. Even retweets are prohibited.” [AdWeek]
Some localities intent on regulating room sharing don’t seem fully aware that “federal law — specifically CDA 230 — prevents any laws that look to hold internet platforms liable for the actions of their users.” While that law does not prevent cities from aiming regulations at their own residents, it means they might not have the authority to assign liability to platforms such as AirBnB for residents’ failure to comply. [Mike Masnick, TechDirt; G.S. Hans, CDT]
GlassDoor is a Yelp-like forum on the topic of what it’s like to work at employers, and a much-used tool for those checking on the job market. Now California law firm Layfield & Barrett and its attorney Philip Layfield have filed a suit seeking to unmask John Does who posted a dozen disobliging comments, and Layfield’s comments at Above the Law are drawing further attention to the controversy. [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]
No, Sen. Thune (R-S.D.), a U.S. lawmaker shouldn’t be firing off a letter to Facebook insisting that it account for the alleged political slant of its judgment in selecting content. As for supposed victims of the practice, writes Amy Alkon, “if your news comes from the tiny trending bits on the sidebar of Facebook, you’re about as informed politically as my desk lamp, and I ask that you not vote.”
Sponsored by Reps. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), H.R. 2304, the Speak Free Act would introduce a federal procedural remedy against certain lawsuits that discourage speech. “The Act would allow a person who is SLAPPed to file a special motion to dismiss such lawsuits and collect legal fees from the person or entity that filed the initial SLAPP.” A letter from supportive groups cites the importance of not chilling reviews and feedback in the online economy. 28 states have enacted anti-SLAPP legislation in widely varying forms; “SLAPP” is originally an acronym for “Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation.” [Ronald Bailey, Reason; TechFreedom podcast with Evan Swarztrauber and Moriah Mensah]
When a self-promoter trolls the online outrage machine, freedom of travel and assembly wind up as collateral damage [Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason on the “Roosh” furor and resulting shut-him-down efforts; Daily Mail] The Washington Post’s Caitlin Dewey speaks to Southern Poverty Law Center official Heidi Beirich who seems to find it regrettable that “a guy with a blog” should get so much free publicity, seeming to forget who gave him so much of it.
“Fearing a civil liberties backlash and ‘bad public relations’ for the Obama administration, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson refused in early 2014 to end a secret U.S. policy that prohibited immigration officials from reviewing the social media messages of all foreign citizens applying for U.S. visas, a former senior department official said.” According to former acting DHS undersecretary John Cohen, political “optics” inhibited U.S. officials from the fully legal course of checking the social media posts of visa applicants. The process came under scrutiny after the granting of a fiance visa to Tashfeen Malik, a resident of high-terror-risk Pakistan who had extensively discussed jihad and martyrdom online. [ABC News; but see below updates/corrections, which correct significant errors in the early reporting]
It’s important to keep straight that our Constitution restricts what the U.S. government can do to U.S. persons, but imposes little if any constraint on what it can ask of those seeking to enter.
P.S. Alex Nowrasteh talks with several immigration lawyers who say they know of instances in which social media postings by persons under U.S. immigration scrutiny got vetted. More: James Taranto (quoting New York Times’s statement that “immigration officials do not routinely review social media as part of their background checks,” with “pilot programs” to do so in place since the fall of last year).
Update: contradicting widespread reports in the press, FBI Director James Comey now describes the couple as having expressed jihadist sentiment in private but not in public messages on social media [Washington Post] And the New York Times now apologizes for early, erroneous reporting based on anonymous sources which misled much of the press and commentariat into believing Malik’s extremist sentiments were in plain sight.
A firm representing Lucasfilm/Disney sent takedown notices to force removal from social media of photos of a newly issued Star Wars figurine that an unnamed fan had walked into a Wal-Mart and purchased in the usual manner. [Timothy Geigner, TechDirt]