With increasing use of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook for both business and pleasure, it is advisable for all firms to have social networking policies that are clear and unequivocal and protect the business to the maximum extent possible from exposure to liability.
Use of social networking by employees has a number of implications for businesses, such as:
- The potential for damage to the reputation of the business
- Interference with effectiveness at work
- The potential that there may be breaches of the law (e.g. data protection law)
The first question to address is whether employees are to be allowed access to social networking sites at all during working hours. If the decision is made to allow such access, then there needs to be careful thought about forming the rules regarding social media use and comprehensive guidance on what is and what is not acceptable.
This is especially true if social networking sites are to be used as part of the firm’s promotional activities.
Where social networking is used for business purposes, there should also be a clear contractual agreement that the social networking output and accounts (and attendant goodwill) belong to the business, not the employee.
The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.