Page 2 of 3

their beef to Facebook, Twitter or other social networking venues, the damage (at some level) is done. This goes for individuals and businesses alike.

Sure, your friends may know that some jilted ex-boyfriend is simply making up nasty rumors about you and spreading false lies all over the Internet to humiliate you. But what about that prospective employer you’re trying to impress or that new business account or client you’re trying to land?
Likewise for businesses, including small business owners, having someone bad-mouth you on Facebook or Twitter has huge negative financial consequences.

According to the American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, when people using social media for customer service have a negative customer service experience, more than 80% of them halt a purchase with that business. Additionally, those same individuals will tell an average of 53 other people about their bad experience, the American Express survey revealed.

So a company suffers not just the loss of that one customer’s business – but also potentially dozens or maybe hundreds of other people too. If a person’s complaints go really viral through social networks, many thousands or even millions of prospective customers could form a negative impression about the company, inflicting serious financial harm.

5.    An ex spouse can use your Facebook activity against you in divorce

If you ever split up with your spouse, and there are any financial or personal issues being contested, expect your ex – and his or her attorney – to comb through your Facebook posts and other social media activities searching for ammunition.

They’ll be looking for evidence of your assets, spending, lifestyle, affairs you may have had and more, according to lawyers who say the use of social media in divorce proceedings is on the rise. And all of it could wind up costing you dearly in divorce court.

Even if you manage to settle out of court, and avoid appearing before a judge, if a bitter former spouse gleans certain information about you from Facebook – stuff you’d long forgotten about – he or she will likely be able to extract a bigger financial settlement from you.

Oh, and if you think you’re safe just by deleting information or changing your passwords, think again. Several judges have ruled that divorcing parties can be ordered to turn over passwords, usernames, logins and deleted data from their social networking sites.

6.    You could be legally served court papers

Speaking of court, a divorce battle isn’t the only thing to worry about when it comes to Facebook or Twitter hurting you financially.
Recently, the rapper Flo Rida was served with a damages claim via Facebook. An Australian music festival promoter is suing Flo Rida (whose real name is Tramar Dillard) for an alleged breach of contract over a concert gig gone sour.

The promoter claims to have paid Flo Rida $56,800 to perform at a concert in Sydney, but the artist failed to show up, according to Sydney’s Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper further reports that the promoter, called Mothership Music, made various unsuccessful efforts to serve Flo Rida personally, including attending other concerts in Australia where he performed. But process servers could never get past huge crowds, including the rapper’s bodyguards and entourage.

So when traditional efforts to serve the rapper failed, the New South Wales District Court froze Flo Rida’s assets in Australia, an ultimately allowed a claim to be served on him via Facebook rather than in person.

Obviously, this case involves extenuating circumstances – not the least of which is that the two parties live on opposite sides of the globe.
But this isn’t the first time that courts have allowed the use of social media to serve legal documents. It’s previously happened in Australia and Canada with Facebook. And a U.K. judge also allowed someone to be served via Twitter in 2009.
Legal experts say they expect the trend to continue. That’s not far-fetched when you consider that millions of Americans (not just entertainers) travel for business or pleasure each year.

Any of them could have a personal or business dispute that winds up leading to litigation. If they can’t be tracked down locally through traditional means, it’s not difficult to see that foreign courts would allow people to be served via social media.
While that does not yet appear to have happened in the U.S., I can envision scenarios under which judges might permit someone to be legally served via Facebook or Twitter.
One possible scenario: a father who has skipped town and moved out of state might be served via Facebook in a child custody or child support case, or another type of personal or business lawsuit. Again, it doesn’t happen now, as people have to usually get served in-person and with a hard copy, or sometimes via email.
But who knows about the future, as social media and other forms of