Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Mexico Bans NCAA Student-Athlete Social Media Monitoring Firms

New Mexico recently joined Delaware, California, New Jersey, Michigan, Arkansas, and Utah in protecting their schools, school employees, students, and taxpayers from the potential costs and legal liability issues associated with social media monitoring students.  Under New Mexico SB 422, it is unlawful "to demand access in any manner to a student's, applicant's or potential applicant's account or profile on a social networking web site."

The enactment of SB 422 will greatly benefit schools, school employees, students, and taxpayers because collectively post-secondary schools in New Mexico may save millions of dollars in potential compliance costs and tens or hundreds of  millions of dollars in potential costs associated with social media related lawsuits.  SB 422 along with similar laws around the country appear to negatively affect the following companies that offer social media monitoring services:  UDiligence, Varsity Monitor, Fieldhouse Media, and Jump Forward.

It appears that the only way for the above mentioned social media monitoring services to properly function is if a student either downloads an application onto his personal account(s), provides a username(s) and/or password(s) to his personal account(s), or if a student authenticates his social media account(s).  These services may claim that all they need to properly work is a student's name or alias to search for a public social media account.  However, performing an Internet search and guessing that an account belongs to a particular student just because it is on the Internet may put you in the same position as one of the people portrayed in this hilarious State Farm Commercial.  According to CNN, as of last August, Facebook may have at least 83 million fake accounts and according to PRWeek, Twitter may have as many as 20 million fake accounts.

Any company that approaches schools to sell social media monitoring services to track students' personal digital accounts is selling a legal liability time bomb.  If a school is monitoring the personal social media content of their students and misses an indication that there may be a crime committed it may cost the school more than $100 million dollars.  For proof, just review the Penn State emails regarding the Jerry Sandusky matter.  Does a school want to be on the hook for tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in legal liability because it was utilizing a social media monitoring service to track their students personal digital accounts?      

To learn more about these issues you may contact me at

Copyright 2013 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC All rights reserved.

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