Social Media and the Law: A Guidebook for Communication Students and Professionals, 2nd Edition (Paperback) book cover

Social Media and the Law

A Guidebook for Communication Students and Professionals, 2nd Edition

By Daxton Stewart, Daxton Stewart

Edited by Daxton Stewart


284 pages

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Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat allow users to connect with one another and share information with the click of a mouse or a tap on a touchscreen—and have become vital tools for professionals in the news and strategic communication fields. But as rapidly as these services have grown in popularity, their legal ramifications aren’t widely understood. To what extent do communicators put themselves at risk for defamation and privacy lawsuits when they use these tools, and what rights do communicators have when other users talk about them on social networks? How can an entity maintain control of intellectual property issues—such as posting copyrighted videos and photographs—consistent with the developing law in this area? How and when can journalists and publicists use these tools to do their jobs without endangering their employers or clients?

Including two new chapters that examine First Amendment issues and ownership of social media accounts and content, Social Media and the Law brings together thirteen media law scholars to address these questions and more, including current issues like copyright, online impersonation, anonymity, cyberbullying, sexting, and live streaming. Students and professional communicators alike need to be aware of laws relating to defamation, privacy, intellectual property, and government regulation—and this guidebook is here to help them navigate the tricky legal terrain of social media.


"Social Media and the Law should be a must-read for communication students and practitioners. With proven experts on each area of social media law, this book continues to serve as a go-to resource for being so thorough and comprehensive in examining nearly all the key legal issues." –Kyu Ho Youm, University of Oregon

"Social media pose some of the most complex challenges for free expression in the twenty-first century, and Social Media and the Law is an engaging and clear-eyed counselor through that complexity—required reading for people interested in the future of media law." –Jonathan Peters, University of Kansas

"This is an important book in a dynamic field, expertly edited by an experienced journalist and legal scholar. Highly readable and student friendly, it examines current issues relating to emerging law in key areas of social media and is a must-have for any course on digital media law." –Aimee Edmondson, Ohio University

Table of Contents

Preface, by Daxton R. "Chip" Stewart

Chapter 1: The Boundaries of Free Speech in Social Media, by Jennifer Jacobs Henderson

Chapter 2: Defamation, by Derigan Silver

Chapter 3: Privacy and Terms of Use, by Woodrow Hartzog

Chapter 4: Intellectual Property, by Kathleen K. Olson

Chapter 5: Commercial Speech and Federal Regulations, by Courtney Barclay

Chapter 6: Account Ownership and Control, by Jasmine McNealy

Chapter 7: Government Information and Leaks, by David Cuillier

Chapter 8: Student Speech, by Dan Kozlowski

Chapter 9: Obscenity, Sexting and Cyberbullying, by Amy Kristin Sanders

Chapter 10: Social Media Use in Courtrooms, by Cathy Packer

Chapter 11: Social Media Policies for Journalists, by Daxton R. Stewart

Chapter 12: Social Media Policies for Advertising and Public Relations, by Holly Kathleen Hall

Chapter 13: The Future of Discourse in Online Spaces, by Jared Schroeder

About the Authors/Editor

Daxton R. "Chip" Stewart, Ph.D., J.D., LL.M., is an associate professor at the Schieffer School of Journalism at Texas Christian University. He has more than fifteen years of professional experience in news media and public relations and has been an attorney since 1998. His recent scholarship focuses on the intersection of social media and the law.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
COMPUTERS / Web / Social Networking
COMPUTERS / Social Aspects / General
LAW / Entertainment
LAW / Intellectual Property / General
LAW / Media & the Law
LAW / Computer & Internet
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies