Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Comment from Kemp Little on Charlotte Proudman case and social media HR policies

Elizabeth Marshall at technology and digital media law firm Kemp Little comments

“As more LinkedIn users come forward complaining about misogyny on LinkedIn, the Charlotte Proudman case clearly exposes some hidden dangers of using social media accounts. The laws dealing with the misuse of social media are still catching up with the developments in technology and they currently offer little protection to users, especially where there is arguably a public interest angle in any material being published. There is nothing to prevent messages from being reposted publicly without consent, and as a result authors are clearly identifiable. Equally, there are often unforeseen consequences of taking a stand, including trolling.

“Social-media sites have been hesitant to intervene in personal attacks launched by one user against another, although we are starting to see more regulation in this area, as issues like ‘trolling’ become more widespread. Although individual LinkedIn accounts are technically ‘personal’, in Mr Carter Silk’s case his private message was arguably sent in a work context. In such cases, it could be open to the individual’s employer to take action against the author for bringing their business into disrepute.”