Defining "social media," legislatively

So California has a new law that prohibits employers from demanding that employees turn over usernames and passwords for "personal social media."

Here's how that law defines "social media."

"As used in this chapter, 'social media' means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations."

As Eric Goldman points out, this covers "all digital content and activity," online and offline.

I'd like to quickly compare the California definition of social media with the far more useful definition the Illinois legislature came up with. (We talked about the Illinois law earlier this year.)

"For the purposes of this subsection, 'social networking website' means an Internet-based service that allows individuals to: (A) construct a public or semi-public profile within a bounded system, created by the service; (B) create a list of other users with whom they share a connection within the system; and (C) view and navigate their list of connections and those made by others within the system."

Effort makes perfectSeriously, how hard would it have been for the interns who (presumably) wrote the California law to go find models from other states?

Photo: N K / Flickr.


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