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Be careful of what you are posting on social media because these 6 things could get you into trouble

From copyright infringement to unknowingly oversharing, there are many things to be cautious of when posting to social media. Failure to to understand laws could get you into trouble.

Social media, when used appropriately, can be a great channel for sharing experiences and staying connected with others. 

Although social media can be a creative outlet that brings people together, it also has a dark side. 

In order to stay safe on social media, it's important to know what types of posts or accounts could get you into legal trouble. 


From copyright infringements to defamation and leaving yourself vulnerable to danger by oversharing, there are many different legal facets to be wary of whenever you are posting online. 

Read on to uncover a few common situations that social media users should be aware of in order to stay safe and stay out of legal trouble. 

As a general rule of thumb, stay away from posting photos to social media that you didn't take yourself. 

If you post a picture from somewhere like Google or Getty and don't have the proper permission to do so, usually by paying for the photo, you could find yourself facing a copy infringement claim. 


If you are going to post a picture that isn't yours, make sure you have permission from that source to do so. If the person whose photo you're posting finds out, that person could file charges against you. 

What seems like a simple joke, such as logging into a friend's account and posting an embarrassing photo there, could turn into a legal battle. 

Hacking another person's account (whether it's someone you know or not) is illegal. 

Having a secure password that your accounts live behind is one vital step to take in order to make yourself less susceptible to hacking. Don't share your password with anyone, and consider changing it here and there to make your account more secure. Having two-step verification set up is another way to keep your account safe from hackers.

Pretending to be someone else on social media is another situation that could get you into trouble with the law. 

Never make an account posing as another person or entity.

While there's nothing wrong with posting photos and videos to social media, what you post is important to keep in mind. 

With the new age way of posting your day-to-day life on social media, oversharing has become a problem. 


There is certain information that you should refrain from putting on social media to keep yourself safe. 

For example, information like your exact location or the dates you'll be away on a vacation are better kept to yourself. 

Even something that seems like a simple post, such as showing a ticket for a concert you're going to, can be dangerous. A lot of your personal information is on the ticket, as well as a bar code that a scammer could attempt to duplicate. 

When you have a bad experience at a restaurant, hotel or with another individual in general, you may be tempted to go straight to social media to blow off steam. 

When you go through an unsatisfactory experience, don't immediately run to social media to share. If the person or company you are shaming is identifiable, they could sue for defamation. 

There are certain factors that need to be present in a case in order for it to be categorized as defamation. The Legal Information Institute of Cornell Law School says these are the four elements that a plaintiff must show in order to prove defamation. 

While defamation is often difficult to prove, it's still safe to err on the side of caution. 

If you feel inclined to speak about your experience, consider talking to family and friends about your poor experience, rather than sharing with thousands of followers. 

If you do choose to share a bad experience you've had through an online review or on social media, be sure that everything you are posting is fact and true to what happened. 

When posting on social media, it's easy to forget about who is on the other side of that post. 

It could be an employer or a future one, for example. 


Don't post photos to social media that could taint your reputation. 

When you post, remember that even the delete button can't stop someone who's already seen it or even taken a screenshot of the photo. 

Before posting, think to yourself, "Would I be OK with my boss seeing this?" If the answer is no, it's probably best to keep that photo to yourself. 

With music, a lot of social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok have music licensing already built in. 

For example, if you're posting a TikTok video, the songs available to you through the app are OK to use. 

If you are using a song that is not in the library, this is when you want to be weary, because you'll need to get permission from the owner to use that tune. 

YouTube, for example, is a place where you'll want to be extra cautious of this. When posting a video to YouTube, make sure you are using music that is copyright-free. 

Again, if the music is not copyright-free, you'll need to go through the proper steps of gaining permission from the owner of the song you are using in order to avoid legal trouble. 

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