IT Compliance Advisor

Aug 18 2009   4:53PM GMT

3 social media questions for compliance officers to consider



Posted by: GuyPardon
Tags:
compliance
Facebook
LinkedIn
Online Communities
privacy
social media
Social network
Twitter

My recently published series on online privacy and social media compliance is resulting in some feedback from our audience, as you might imagine. Scott Crawford, managing research director for Enterprise Management Associates, posed three questions that I believe are useful for anyone working and using social media to consider.

Navigating these boundaries will be a tricky dance for all as advice and professional services are offered over social media platforms, whether they are Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or [X] other social network. Crawford’s comments follow.

“I personally think one of the biggest issues with social networking will not be as cut-and-dried as a lot of these recommendations make it sound, however – namely:

  • What clearly distinguishes personal from professional information shared via social networking sites?
  • What are the boundaries of personal expertise and corporate IP? Can those necessarily be deduced in all cases where social networking is the vehicle?
  • How much of the individual’s personal identity overlaps with corporate identity?

This is likely a particular concern where personal expertise is the primary stock-in-trade of the enterprise, as with consulting organizations.

Despite the apparent conflict, social networks are popular outlets for consultants, for example, since they not only help promote personal expertise but showcase it in a very personal way.

Although you’ve offered some excellent examples of common sense distinctions between personal and acceptable corporate use, I suspect a number of cases will come forward that are not so clear-cut — and even where the case appears to be clear-cut, I would fully expect legal counsel to vigorously exploit any lack of clear distinctions that may be found in a particular case.”

If you have answers to Scott’s questions, please leave a comment, send feedback to editor@searchcompliance.com or @reply to @ITCompliance on Twitter.

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  • DougCornelius
    Scott has some great questions. The first question points out why it is so difficult to block social networking. The line between personal and professional is difficult to define. It's better to focus on what content is good, what to avoid and what is prohibited. The second and third questions are more relevant when the company decides to encourage the use of social networking and use employees to actively engage in them. It is best to address these up front when you start. Blogs are easy when you use a corporate owned platform. The content is the company's and you probably do not want the authors to take any of that content with them when they leave. I would recommend that the employees actively engaged in social networks on behalf of the company create new accounts, owned by the company (including passwords). Employees will leave, so you need to make sure the company and employee know at the beginning what will happen when they part ways.
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