Social media offers the opportunity for people to gather in online communities of shared interest and create, share or consume content. With the enhanced features provided by Web 2.0 and social media tools in general, breaking laws on the internet has become easier than before. Social Media tools are now essential tools we use to communicate amongst one another every day. Previously in this blog, the benefits and risks of social media were elaborated on. With this said, organizations and businesses must be aware of the benefits and risks that come with utilizing social media tools. Such risks include legal risks that are associated with the incorrect use of the tools by people that are either uneducated about the policies or ignorant. For example, in the workplace, when employees use social media and expose themselves in a bad mannered way, they may give their employers a bad image. Other ways that legal risks are implicated are through trademark infringement, privacy, copyright, loss of confidential information, defamation, and nevertheless risk of reputation. Therefore it is significant to establish a social media policy in order to educate employees and guide them on how they can use social media tools with proper manner in the workplace.
The example that will be used today is Telstra. Telstra has a policy called Telstra’s 3 Rs of Social Media Engagement which applies to all employees of Telstra and anyone notified of the policy. The policy applies to all Telstra owned Australian subsidiaries. According to Telstra, their 3 Rs Policy of Social Media Engagement are:
These 3 Rs apply when using social media tools such as Facebook, Myspace, Bebo, and Friendster. Additionally, they apply to micro-blogging sites, video and photo sharing sites, blogs, forums, and online encyclopaedias. Telstra has made a clear document to reveal its policy to ensure their employees abide by it.
Social Media Policy must provide information that is relevant and can be accepted but also list a clear code of conduct while highlighting penalties or punishment if the policies are not abided. It is essential for organizations to enforce these policies in order to educate their employees and reveal the consequences that may arise if the employees fail to comply. Moreover, organizations and businesses may choose to restrict some social media tools and generally strengthen their security methods to reduce the risks of security breach.