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The risks of social media

Woman on computer Do you have a Facebook page or are you on Twitter? 

TV shows, movie stars and businesses are taking advantage of new ways to promote themselves. Social media are on the rise – and I am probably the only person I know that does not have a Facebook page.

While these are great mechanisms to communicate with your friends and family - and also a new way to market your business - they are not without added risk.

Earlier this month, a small business owner in Knoxville, Tenn. was sued for charges of libel stemming from allegations that the small business owner made on Facebook and Twitter.

In July, a Chicago Landlord sues ex-tenant over tweet complaining.

Then a doctor sued a patient for defamation over comments posted on an internet forum.

Our society is becoming very litigious and the insurance industry is certainly trying to keep up with the changes in our overall risk. However, there are limitations to insurance. That is why it is so important to make sure you purchase the right insurance for your risk exposure.

A standard business or homeowners policy will not typically cover claims for libel, slander or defamation charges. Coverage for these types of claims can be covered under an umbrella policy –  if you have one. I would, however, caution you to make sure that your agent confirms that your media exposure is covered under the policy.

For the serious blogger and/or social media networker, it may be sensible for you to purchase media insurance or a cyber-liability policy.

Most claims and/or suits stem from copyright infringement, defamation, invasion of privacy and  libel or slander. Having this type of policy can provide you with broader coverage.

Remember, as a business owner, you can be responsible for what your employees are putting on Facebook and tweeting as well. Talk with your agent today regarding your media risk exposure.

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