How Social Media Can Help Someone Sue Your Small Business

If the Internet had Miranda Rights, it would read "Social Media--- anything you say, like, or post can and will be used against you." All jokes aside I cannot tell you how many times folks have posted online, whether it was on a personal or business page, and it has come back to haunt them. It's on the news every day but it's also being used against folks in Slidell, Louisiana and your hometown too.

So, if you are a Northshore business owner let's talk about how you can protect yourself, your livelihood, and your family when it comes to social media.

What Is Social Media

Stop laughing.

If you’re reading this article then I’m going to take a educated guess and say you know what “social media” is. After all you’re part of a collective that interacts routinely online.  Routine examples of social media include, but we all know are not limited to:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter (where else can we discuss how bad the Falcons are in 280 characters or less)
  • Linked In
  • SnapChat
  • What’s App
  • YouTube
  • TikTok
  • Pinterest
  • Digg
  • Vimeo
  • Reddit
  • Air Bnb
  • PayPal & Venmo

Social media is so much more than just tweets, photographs, and cute puppy videos on Facebook or Instagram. Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Art. 3191 states that a digital account automatically includes what we colloquially refer to as social media. Each phone based application seemingly has an Internet website connected to it; you can access Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snap Chat on your web page as well as on the application. Does this include social media applications not accessible or with the ability to be password protected? In this day and age almost every application allows registration through Facebook or Google --- both of which are certainly a web log Internet website in the event the social networking application does not have a website to fall within “social networking Internet website” category.

Microblogs include sites that allow you to “post text” such as Facebook and Twitter. You know your Aunt Cindy that posts rants on her “status” in Facebook? Well,she has what is considered a micro blog. Fantasy Football League Carl’s Twitter account where he blasts the Atlanta Falcons every week in 280 characters or less? Yep- Carl is now the proud digital owner of a microblog whether he knows it or not. Electronic mail servers, financial accounts, file access accounts like Dropbox or iCloud are all included in this definition of a digital account under LA CCP 3191.

Privacy Doesn't Exist On Social Media

Read that again. Privacy. Does Not. Exist. On. Social. Media.

Lawyers finding your social media accounts. This photo is property of and credited to former NFL star Anthony Adams, @spiceadams

Even if your personal account is private, guess what? It really isn't. Pick your jaw off the floor. Anyone who is a friend or in a Group can screenshot what you post. If a lawyer subpoenas your social media accounts/history, then guess what? We can see it all: private messages, likes, reactions, comments, friend lists, time stamps....all of it.

How Social Media Affects Your Business

Every thing, and we mean every thing, you post as a business owner whether it's on your personal account or not may be used against you in a business law or civil lawsuit. Or it could be used by you against someone else to refute their claims.

What can be used against you:

  • Facebook Group Posts
  • Facebook Likes, Shares, Comments, Reactions
  • Instant or Private Messages
  • Instagram Likes, Shares, Comments, Reactions
  • Potentially even your friend lists
  • Employee messages, comments, posts, likes, reactions

What Kind of Lawsuits Can Social Media Be Used For

Short answer: ALL OF THEM! Every lawsuit (and criminal trial) can use social media. The kicker is getting it authenticated and put into evidence at trial or hearing but guess what? Even if you don't use something as evidence, it can be used as a jumping off point for discovery, depositions, and lines of questioning. Here are some common suits that a Slidell small business may see themselves embroiled in where social media is involved:

  • Business law
  • Employment discrimination
  • OSHA claims
  • Personal injury
  • Workers compensation
  • Intellectual Property Lawsuits
  • Defamation
  • Family Law
  • Business contract disputes
  • Landlord Tenant disputes
  • Eviction suits
  • Noncompete and Non-solicitation disputes
  • Civil Rights claims
  • Harassment
  • Protective Orders


Right now we are in a global pandemic. There are CDC protocols and Louisiana orders to follow. One of which is capacity requirements: if your business posts a packed house- or if your employee posts it-- and you're in violation of the fire code and those orders, guess what? If someone gets sick they are going to say you were negligent in allowing that many people in the area. Or, you get hit with a fine. Or: BOTH.

Another scenario: you posts videos of yourself singing to the new Ariana Grande song in your car....while driving....a company car and you hit someone. BAM- potentially used against you and your company as distracted driving. Now....maybe it's your employee. Not a good turn of events, is it?

You post in a private Facebook group bashing another business. That post gets sent to the other business owner through a screenshot. Her business profits suffer (or she alleges they do) because of that post. She sues you for defamation. You have to spend money on an attorney (or your insurance company, if you have a policy that covers it) to defend yourself. And if you get a judgment against you (or the business), you have to pay up and it could be a public relations nightmare.

How To Protect Your Business

    Internal Measures (As It Relates to Employees and Contractors)
  • Code of Professional Conduct
  • Employee/HR Training
  • Social Media Policy
  • Release Waivers (allowing your business to utilize photos, comments, testimonials of staff or clients)
  • Confidentiality agreements (so your employees or contractors, including social media management companies, don't post about private company business or clients online)
  • Form Partnerships with trust worthy institutions or organizations
  • Be Aware Of Your Professional Ethics and Advertising Rules
    Outside Protections
  • Insurance (Cyber, Liability, BOP)
  • Beef Up Your Hiring Process (background checks, interviews: Louisiana is an at-will stat. NOTE: This is why employee contracts and media policies are crucial to businesses)
  • Intellectual Property (Trademark or Copyright your IP locally or federally)
  • Use Your Common Sense
  • Utilize Privacy Settings
  • Social Media Management (use a third party to manage your media platforms or ensure who posts for you is following ethics rules)
Don't get caught with egg (or cupcake) on your face. Watch what you post, who you trust to post for you, and monitor your online presence

Don't get me wrong: yall can post and say whatever you want online. Just remember that folks are always watching, taking screenshots, and can share it. Be mindful of your internet presence and don't say anything that you wouldn't want your Grandma to read in a Court Transcript one day.

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Need help implementing any of these documents or suggestions? Want a business consultation with Amber & Tubbs? Is there a topic you want to hear more about?  Leave a comment on our Facebook page, call or text us at 985-265-7196, or shoot us an email at to start a conversation.

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