Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Multi-Milion Dollar Jury Verdict Against Virginia Tech Proves Schools Should Not Create A Duty To Social Media Monitor

The 2007 Virginia Tech massacre that left 33 dead on campus was a terrible tragedy. Earlier today, a jury found Virginia Tech negligent for its delay in warning its campus about the first shootings. Two of the families of those who were killed were awarded $4 million dollars each by a jury.

This case demonstrates why schools should not utilize the services of social media monitoring companies to review the password protected content of their students. On March 12, 2012, the NCAA stated that there is no "blanket duty on institutions to monitor social networking sites." Therefore, if there is no blanket compliance duty to social media monitor why create a legal duty to do so which may lead to multi-million dollar judgements for negligent social media monitoring?

After the the University of North Carolina Public Infractions Report was released, Varsity Monitor, a company that sells social media monitoring services responded to a Tweet that links to an article where I am quoted by Tweeting, "It is still best practice for the athletic dept to continue to monitor social media for brand and athlete protection & edu" (see below):

Now that two $4 million dollar jury verdicts have been returned against an academic institution for a delay in properly warning its students about a killer being on the loose on campus, imagine if a school follows the above advice by Varsity Monitor and a tragedy occurs that social media monitoring should have warned against but did not? Instead of multiple $4 million dollar jury verdicts would it be multiple $25 million or $50 million or $100 million dollar negligent social media monitoring jury verdicts?

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