In less than a decade, social networking and social media have revolutionized the way business is done. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and many others offer our clients new ways to connect with their customers and employees, build a brand image and communicate with the public. These new communications platforms, however, come with new risks and liabilities.
Ropes & Gray’s social media group is experienced at helping clients navigate the evolving landscape of legal risk and opportunity. Our cross-disciplinary team is made up of attorneys from practices including labor & employment, privacy & data security, intellectual property, advertising, securities, antitrust, FDA, and investment management.
We offer a wide range of services for clients from across all industries and sectors, including those in financial services, retail, technology and life sciences, as well as not-for-profit, educational and cultural organizations. These services include:
Policies & Protocols
We draft and design:
- Comprehensive social media policies, including guidelines for the use of social media by employees, human resources and administration
- Policies that protect intellectual property rights and trade secrets on social networks and in the social media context
- Privacy and data security programs
Strategic Advice for Regulated Businesses
We counsel clients in regulated industries on:
- Federal Trade Commission guidance dealing with social media, including guidelines for blogger endorsements
- The use of Twitter and other social media tools by public companies to communicate with shareholders and other investor constituencies
- The use of social networks by investment advisers and brokers, including advice on guidance issued by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the SEC
For clients in the life sciences industry, we also counsel on:
- FDA laws and how they apply to the use of social media for advertising, promotion and conveying product information
- When and how to correct false or misleading information posted about products by a third party
False Advertising & e-Commerce Issues
We work with clients to combat competitors’ false advertising or deceptive practices on social media sites, and where necessary, we represent clients in court and before government agencies.
We also counsel clients on e-Commerce and web infrastructure issues such as on-line alliances and commercial arrangements (including co-branding, co-marketing, and traffic agreements) associated with social media.
Our social media experience includes:
- Advised a pharmaceutical company on the use of video-chat and other emerging social media technologies in product promotion and field medical communications
- Developed guidelines for a pharmaceutical company to follow as it added “chat boxes” to its product web pages
- Advised a major pharmaceutical company on the development of a medical information website to provide non-promotional product and disease-state information to prescribers
- Counseled a device company on the development and administration of a web-based patient portal
- Routinely counsel pharmaceutical and medical device companies on the use of Twitter and Facebook in branded and unbranded communications
- Counseling numerous clients on their response to instances of trademark infringement on other parties’ social media sites.
- Advising pharmaceutical and medical device companies on the development and use of mobile medical applications, message boards and other social media platforms.
- Counseling over a dozen investment advisory firms regarding social media compliance policies and procedures.
- Representing a consumer products company in a challenge brought before the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (NAD) regarding social media practices.
- Regularly advising a regulated consumer products company on its marketing and promotional efforts through, and disclosure practices for, various social media platforms.
- Counseling consumer-oriented Internet properties and app providers on their social media disclosure policies and practices.
- Counseling an industrial machinery corporation on social media policies.