However, the use of social media introduces potential risks to business. These risks are far too many to mention and almost impossible to quantify, as most platforms enables users to post content which may business and its stakeholders. So much so that there has been a radical increase in lawsuits relating to damages both locally and internationally over the past 5 years.
Social media is an essential tool in business. Its attractiveness includes real-time access to news and information and instant connection globally. Social media is often adopted by business to strengthen brand, generate leads, engage with customers, advertise products or simply utilised by business, customers and employees as a communication tool. Social media has become intrinsic to commerce as it adds to competitive advantage, differentiation and other management concepts.
However, the use of social media introduces potential risks to business. These risks are far too many to mention and almost impossible to quantify, as most platforms enables users to post content which may business and its stakeholders. So much so that there has been a radical increase in lawsuits relating to damages both locally and internationally over the past 5 years. Disputes relating to social media content relate to the following (among other).
1. Reputational and brand damage
2. On-line misconduct (harassment, hate-speech, discrimination)
3. Disclosing confidential or sensitive information or trade secrets
4. Infringement of intellectual property rights or copyright
5. Breach of privacy and limiting freedom of speech
6. Violation of regulatory requirements
As comprehensive as the subject of social media and the law is, there is no separate or specialised law that governs behaviour on digital platforms within a mysterious legal jurisdiction of outer space. In fact there is no one specific or singular law that governs social media. The same multiple laws that apply to a person’s conduct in the real world apply to their conduct and content online. To understand these one needs to wade through countless statutes, common law and case law to appreciate the legal issues associated with the use of social media.
Here are a few key points on managing social media risk :
1. Be aware : be aware of any information posted or uploaded online about your business or employees which has the potential to cause damage. This involves constantly monitoring social media business presence.
2. Active management of social media usage : review on-line activity for any contentious or damaging content (including content of re-tweets, likes, quotes and favourites), observe employee conduct, educate employees and management on-line conduct and misconduct, create processes relating to on-line complaints.
3. Document : establish controls including a list of ‘do’s and don’ts’, and include these policies in internal policies, codes of conduct and employment contracts.
Do you have a social media policy?
The appropriate management of social media usage requires the introduction of a social media policy and technical controls - map-out the risks and create a clear and effective guideline on how to manage risk and compliance. It is important to note that the applicable policy and controls depend on the risk assessment of each business. One size does not fit all when it comes to social media policy and technical controls. It takes different approaches to mitigate or avoid risk with each business. On developing the correct policy, the key to is to communicate and enforce the policy throughout the organisation. Social media risk management ought to stretch across the various functions of the business, from HR to sales to marketing, and therefore an all-inclusive organisational approach is required.
M Prem Inc now offers Social Media Risk Management
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