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Monday, 04 February 2019

Digital do’s and don’ts explained

BILLBOARD TEST: “Would you put your message onto a huge billboard,” is the question Emma Sadlier posed at a talk about social media law. BILLBOARD TEST: “Would you put your message onto a huge billboard,” is the question Emma Sadlier posed at a talk about social media law.

Students and staff gathered for an illuminating talk on the do’s and don’ts of social media by social media lawyer Emma Sadlier.

She presented a talk about how to stay on the right side of the law when using digital platforms at the Auditorium on Bellville campus last week.

South Africa’s leading legal expert on social media law used well-known local cases of crimen injuria and defamation to explain the consequences of posting ill-judged messages and perpetuating fake news online.

Sadlier started off her talk by posing a simple tenet to judge whether you should post a message or not. “Would I put it on a billboard?” she told the audience to ask themselves. “Once it is out there, it is out there. When you get that feeling in your tummy when you are about to post, think ‘billboard’.”

Running through the agreements everyone signs up when using social media, Sadlier pointed out you give free social media platforms permission to use your content and reminded everyone present to think before they post.

“Do not think that you can be anonymous online. Don’t think you can say something was a joke or that you were hacked. When you joke online you lose context and control of the audience,” she said as she highlighted cases of people prosecuted for stating online they wanted to harm people.

Though the idea might seem macabre, Sadlier reminded people that if they use Facebook they should appoint a Facebook legacy contact. This is a person who decides what should happen to your account after you die.

While it applies to everyone, she admonished students especially to start policing their own digital footprint because more and more prospective employers check you out online as part of their recruitment strategy. She highlighted the directory of links as useful for deleting online accounts you no longer use and as useful for checking whether you have been hacked.

“The more you protect your privacy, the more you have,” said Sadlier.

After the presentation Dean of Student Affairs Prem Coopoo said she hoped to invite Sadlier to address the rest of CPUT campuses later this year.

Written by Theresa Smith


Provides coverage for the Applied Sciences and Engineering Faculties and the Wellington Campus.