The Australian Financial Review recently published an article highlighting the increasing popularity of social media platforms, and the implications for companies of the evolvement of social media from alternative communication to mainstream media.
Social media in the workplace looms as a significant challenge for companies, which if not addressed can increase the risk of regulatory challenges to company and employee social media usage. Australian brands are being drawn into lawsuits because of social media use, and businesses are being warned of “vicarious liability”. The ACCC has stated their intention to monitor businesses that made “deceptive representations about their products or services”.
Companies need to address social media in the workplace with explicit policy added to workplace guidelines. In addition, employee contracts should outline the consequences of non-compliance with company policies.
AFR quote John Swinson, King & Wood, as saying the issues of who had control, who monitored and edited content, privacy, defamation, copyright, infringement and liability for the conduct of others are the same issues as were experienced in the release of previous technologies, including TV and radio.
AFR also quote Joel Zyngier, Holding Redlich, in saying “businesses can reduce their exposure to liability in this area by implementing proper monitoring systems and policies”. If there is no policy in place and an issue is raised, the employer is then placed in a very difficult situation.
How do companies manage policy and social media compliance training?
Companies can implement compliance frameworks which can provide detailed reporting of compliance and policy testing, and demonstrable evidence companies have made every effort to educate their employees on relevant legislation and company policy. The ACCC has stated that in the event of a compliance breach, the existence of a robust company compliance training program will have a positive influence on the regulator’s response.
Implementing a compliance framework will help to reduce the risks associated with breaches of company policy. By providing better education and training to employees, companies will limit their exposure to breaches, and improve overall company performance.
Click here for the full AFR article.