Should companies hold their employees responsible for individual activity on social media?
One of the best inventions since the internet just has to be social media. This phenomenon is rapidly growing with numerous people joining a social network site each day. However it does have its disadvantages and needs to be used in the most cautious and careful way possible, especially if you are employed by well-known companies or organizations. The aim of this blog is to discuss whether or not companies have the right to hold their employees liable for what they post on their personal social media sites.
Social media refers to websites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube that enables people to interact with one another, share videos and images (Levinson, 2013: pg 2). Many businesses and organizations use social media for advertising to create a better brand image and to interact closer with their clients or customers. Although companies allow their employees to use social media, employees need to ensure that they do not post information that could result in terrible implications for their job. It is important to think about what you post before you post it because it can be seen by the public. Paglia (2010) a social network expert advises that one can have two separate accounts for private and public affairs.
On the sixteenth of June 2011, New York Congressman Anthony Weiner was forced to resign after he tweeted a sexual picture of himself to a young college student. This scandal became the talk of the town for many weeks and had serious consequences not only for his public image but for his job and other politicians too (Fiorella, 2011). Therefor it is vitally important to monitor the kind of information you upload, unless of Corse you are a wannabe celebrity who makes a living off posting explicit information and scandalous pictures for publicity. This is why many businesses have certain laws pertaining social media usage for their employees.
According to Paglia(2010) companies such as Fedex, Kodak, Walmart and many others, have social media employee policies. This ensures that employees can safely use their personal social media sites as long as they do not post any information that could jeopardise the company or be used against it in any way. As stated in the Roche social media principles case study, they are aware of the benefits of social media and welcome it. However they also know of the dangers that could arise. Thus they have a Roche code of conduct that suggests one to use sound judgement and common sense when approaching online social media.
In conclusion companies do have the right to hold their employees liable for their personal activities on social media. Employees need to be careful not post information that implicates or conflicts with the company. Since the employees work for the company, it is his/her responsibility to ensure that they abide by their laws or rules.
Fiorella, S. 2011. 12 most spectacular job losses due to social media stupidity Available: http://12most.com/2011/11/24/12-spectacular-job-losses-due-social-media-stupidity/ [Accessed: 5 March 2013]
Levinson, 2013:pg 2. New New Media, Pearson publishers. Uk fordham university
Paglia, R. 2010. Social Media today. Available: http//: www.socialmediatoday.com [Accessed: 5 March 2012]
Image: Perkins, N. Why you should allow social media at work. Available: http//: www.msocialh.com [Accessed: 10 March 2013]
Roche Social Media Principle: Available: http//: www.roche.com/socialmediaguideline.pdf [Accessed: 5 March 2013]