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Social Media Accounts and Your Business Bankruptcy Case


Court decisions issued over the past 15 years are full of evidence of the ways in which social media has destroyed interpersonal relationships and the reputations of individuals and companies.  If a time traveler read court decisions that reference social media activity, though, it would also be obvious to him or her that social media is big business.  From local beef patty trucks to multinational corporations, everyone advertises on social media.  Legal disputes over social media are not just about defamation, breaches of confidentiality, and freedom of speech, although there are plenty of disputes about those issues.  In business disputes, social media is an asset of which the court must determine the ownership and value.  A bankruptcy court in Florida outlined a test for determining whether a social media account belongs to a business or to an individual associated with the business.  If your business has made a name for itself on social media but now must file for bankruptcy, contact a Jupiter chapter 11 bankruptcy lawyer.

What Determines Whether a Social Media Account Belongs to You or to Your Business?

Business and one’s personal life tend to blur on social media.  Some people who originally started YouTube channels to post about personal topics such as pets or video games have extended their 15 minutes of fame for years and monetized their channels to the point where their hobbies have become their job.  Conversely, some social media accounts created for business purposes have found success by posting personal content about their founders or audience.

Thus, when the Vital Pharm energy drink company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in Florida in 2022, it was not immediately clear whether the company’s Instagram, Tik Tok, and Twitter accounts belonged to Vital Pharm or to its owner Jack Owoc.  Approximately 75 percent of the content was directly related to marketing Vital Pharm’s products, 15 percent of the posts were of a personal nature, such as travel photos of Owoc’s family, and the other 15 percent of the posts referenced both the company’s products and Owoc’s personal life.

The court ruled that the social media accounts belonged to the company.  It outlined three criteria for determining this:

  • Who can access the account to post content on it?
  • Who can restrict access to the account?
  • In practice, who uses the account, and for what purpose?

If the answer to the first two questions is “the company,” then the account belongs to the company.  If the company satisfies only one of the first two criteria, the court must consider the third criterion to determine ownership of the account.  To avoid disputes like this, companies should write detailed policies about who owns the social media accounts and any employee-generated content posted on the account.

Work With a Debt Lawyer About Business Bankruptcy

A South Florida debt lawyer can help you if you have turned your personal brand into a business, and now the business is filing for bankruptcy protection.  Contact Nowack & Olson, PLLC in Jupiter, Florida to discuss your case.



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