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Who owns the social media accounts your company uses?

| May 19, 2020 | Contract Disputes |

Like every other business in existence today, your social media presence is important to your brand’s identity and growth. Your company’s reputation is important.

But does the company own its social media accounts or do they belong to specific individuals within your company? How do you tell?

Consider these scenarios:

  • Your business partner opened the social media accounts in their own name, even though they were the company accounts from which you all posted. When you have a falling out, they change all of the passwords and lock everyone else out — all while posting derogatory statements about the state of the company and its management.
  • Your social media director has real talent — and amasses a healthy following of thousands. When it comes time to part ways, they insist that the account belongs to them and that it can “migrate” to their new position with another company.
  • You hired a social media consultant or agency and transferred the administrative rights to your Facebook page to them, so they could operate it. Later, when you have a dispute, you’re kicked off your own page.

None of these are far-fetched possibilities, and situations like this happen all the time — particularly when there’s a clash between personalities. To protect your company, you need to have some very clear contractual agreements regarding the use of the company’s social media usernames, the ownership of all content that goes on your company’s social media pages and the ownership and access to those accounts (and their followers) from the very start.

If you have an employee or contractor who is holding your company’s social media accounts hostage in violation of your contract or who has otherwise ignored your agreements, don’t hesitate to explore all of your legal options.