What criteria will a court use to evaluate whether an employee or employer owns a social media account used for business purposes?

Author: Beth P. Zoller, XpertHR Legal Editor

A court will review the following factors in determining whether an employer or employee owns a social media account that is used for business purposes:

  • Whether the employee and employer entered into a social media account ownership agreement;
  • Whether the employer or employee created the account or requested that the account be created;
  • Whether a business email or a personal email and/or contact information is used in connection with the social media account;
  • Whether the account's username is connected to or incorporates the employer's business;
  • Whether the employer or the employee paid for the creation of the account;
  • Whether the employer or the employee created the content and communications in connection with the social media account;
  • Whether the content or communications in connection with the account solely relate to business issues or also relate to personal matters;
  • Whether there is a substantial amount of intellectual property, trade secrets and confidential and proprietary information that is critical to the value of the business as well as the overall nature of the employer's business;
  • Whether the employer or the employee has the ability to control and dictate the contents of the social media account;
  • Whether the social media account was developed and built using the employer's time, resources and equipment; and
  • Whether the employer has access to the account.