Monday, March 26, 2012
This article, which largely tracks my remarks at Mississippi College's Social Media Symposium, examines expectations of privacy in social media such as weblogs (blogs), Facebook pages, and Twitter tweets. Social media is diverse and ever-diversifying, and while I address some of that complexity, I focus on the core functionality, which provides the groundwork for further conversation as the technology and related social norms develop. As one would expect, just as with our offline communications and other online communications, in some we have an expectation of privacy that is recognized by current law, in some we have an expectation of privacy that should be recognized by current law, and in some we have no legitimate expectation of privacy. The article begins with a short (and personal) history of social media and then discusses the theory of information privacy, after which follows an explanation of, and then application of, the governing constitutional law. This is an area in which statutes should, and to some extent do, expand upon the constitutional floor, and the article ends with a consideration of those statutes and needs for improvements therein, including via statutory frameworks like that recently adopted by the American Bar Association.