Opinion – Lawyers Weekly Australia: Are law firms falling behind on TikTok?

Consumable content has never been timelier, and once again, Australian law firms are slow on the uptake. As a result, they are missing valuable “earned media” opportunities, writes Jacqueline Burns.

Every commercial law firm is competing for the attention of the same relatively small audience. If firms want to be noticed and recognised for their expertise, they should start “newsjacking”.

Last weekend (16 July 2022), ABC News published a story about how a Melbourne woman felt patronised, dehumanised, and “like clickbait” after she was filmed without her consent for a TikTok video, which has now been viewed more than 57 million times and garnered over 12 million likes.

In the video, the woman was duped into accepting a bunch of flowers from a “self-styled Insta-Samaritan”. When she asked if she was being filmed, the aspiring influencer’s associates told her no.

The story, which was broken by respected journalist, Virginia Trioli, has subsequently been picked up by scores of Australian and international media outlets, including The GuardianNews.com.au, MashableNew York PostHerald SunThe Australian, and BBC.

Because my professional services firm clients include a number of commercial law firms, what struck me is that no law firm has seized on the opportunity to add a legal spin to the conversation. Yet, the story is immensely newsjack-able. Is it legal to film someone without them knowing? Is it legal to publish that content without the person’s consent? Is there any law in place to protect someone who has been lied to about being filmed? Could a “victim” demand the content be taken down? Does a “victim” have any other legal rights?

Read more