Social Media Influencer Liability Insurance
In 2002 Facebook didn’t exist and social media wasn’t a thing, but since then countless platforms have come again and now it’s estimated that 3.4 billion of the word’s 7.6 billion people have an active social media profile! In addition, it’s estimated that roughly 95% of people in North American actively use the internet and nearly 70% of people in Canada are active social media users. Given the high levels of adoption and usage social media is a powerful tool which has many benefits including:
- Helps people with similar interests connect
- Assists people who had lost touch or track of each other to reconnect
- Spreads information quickly/instantly
- Create communication networks and paths that bypass traditional means and routes
- Provides entertainment and amusement (think cat videos and memes)
- Helps businesses and others identify individuals or groups based specific characteristics, attributes etc.
- Provides numerous jobs, careers and income for many people in a way that wasn’t possible in the past
Despite the numerous benefits there are also some risks and downsides to social media which need to be acknowledged including:
- Privacy concerns given the extensive amounts of data that is collected analyzed and used
- Addictive nature of social media consumption can result in distraction, disengagement from real interactions and/or a false or misguided sense of contentedness and relational status.
- Bullying, peer pressure and group think
- Liability for those participating, posting and receiving compensation for social media actions and activity
What Is Social Media Influencer Liability Insurance?
Given the popularity of social media and the ability to create segments of users advertisers, marketers and social media companies themselves are compensating people for liking, sharing and posting specific content. When compensation is provided for social media actions and activities it can often result in significant increases in sales, brand awareness, online traffic etc. However, given the lack of controls, freedoms and a tendency for social media content to be intentionally edgy, engaging, comical etc. there are numerous things that could actually result in decreases in sales, damage to a brand and/or boycotts/backlash from the public. When things go bad on social media they can also go viral and are difficult to retract, delete and/or edit given the nature of the platforms and how quickly things spread. In response to this risk the commercial insurance brokerage ALIGNED Insurance offers specialized commercial insurance products in the form of social media influencer liability insurance to help protect social media influencers from potential legal liability associated with their online activities.
Who Should Buy Social Media Influencer Liability Insurance?
Social media influencer liability insurance should be considered by anyone that generates income from their social media profile, but social media influencer liability insurance is most commonly purchased by:
- Bloggers, vloggers & podcast hosts
- Thought leaders, philosophers etc.
- Social media personalities and social with large followers
- Professional Athletes
- Public figures
- Media, sports and news personalities
- Key business leaders
- Artists, photographers, DJ’s
- Reality tv stars, game show contestants
- Micro & Nano influencers
Liability Issues Facing Social Media Influencers
While influencer marketing has been around for a relatively short amount of time, there have already been a significant number of lawsuits that have led to laws being enacted to regulate promotional posting on social media platforms. As an influencer, these are the most common liability risks you face that could get you sued:
- Libel/slander against a person or a brand – The line between legal and illegal speech is razor-thin and getting thinner.
- Copyright infringement – For using someone’s else’s intellectual property and/or work in your content without the rights to do so.
- Invasion of privacy – If you take pictures or videos out in public someone can object to their likeness appearing in your content; publishing private information or images in public also falls in this category.
- Property damage – This includes both property you may accidentally damage and damage that can happen to your own property like cameras, computers, phones, etc.
- Non-performance of contract – If you’re contracted to complete a certain number of posts and don’t, even if a situation outside of your control is the cause, you could still be sued; you may even have terms in your contract that require you to act or not act in a certain way that affects a brand’s reputation.
- Financial fraud – for making claims about a product or service that aren’t true and someone cites your posts as the reason they used that product or service. Even if you don’t make any false claims, if the company you work for does, you could still be named in a lawsuit. (see below)
One of the more famous cases that name an influencer as a defendant in a lawsuit is the multi-million dollar case against cryptocurrency company Centra Tech. The suit names both DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather for their social media posts promoting the company. The investors who are now suing Centra Tech cited those posts, and the lack of disclosure that they were paid posts, as one of the reasons they invested.
You may think that because you’re careful about what you post, you have nothing to worry about. But ask yourself this question: if someone doesn’t like what you say, or claims you stole their intellectual property or says you took their picture without consent, would you have the money to pay a lawyer to defend you, even if it’s a completely frivolous lawsuit, in a case that will drag out for months, possibly years? And what if your lawyer recommends that you settle, do you have the money to pay a settlement? Can you afford to pay for damages if you go to trial and lose?
Social Media Liability Insurance can protect you from those costs and more.
Different Types of Social Media Influencer Liability Insurance Coverages
As a media professional, you need certain coverages made specifically for what you do. Social media influencer liability insurance is customizable and can be scaled up or down as you need it to be. Below are some of the more common coverages for social media influencers.
Professional Liability – this is the type of coverage that can protect you from legal claims of copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, breach of contract and more.
Commercial General Liability Insurance – coverage for claims of libel/slander as well as claims of personal injury, property damage and false advertising.
Cyber Liability & Privacy Insurance – as you gain more followers you also attract more attention. Cyber criminals can lock you out of your accounts until you pay a ransom or ruin your brand by shitposting in your name. Cyber insurance for social media influencers can cover the costs of an attack including ransomware demands, data and system restoration fees and third-party losses for anyone who’s identity was stolen due to a hack of your system or devices.
Property Insurance – your gear is expensive. Protect your building / workspace, cameras, laptops, other devices and other business assets from fires, floods, sewage backups, break-ins and other perils by bundling property coverage in with your cyber insurance for social media influencers.
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