Why Finance teams need to know about social media
Data security is a hot topic following the Information Commissioner’s action against Ealing and Hounslow Councils for the loss of unencrypted laptops. The fines levied have made many businesses look more carefully at their security and you might have already begun your own review.
The question is, have you included social media in your review?
As members of a finance team it is easy to ignore social media. After all, it is not part of our everyday working lives and work practices. However, you need to ensure your company has a strong policy in place to protect you from any one of these costly mistakes:
- Breach of guidelines enforced by Information Commissioner’s Office
- Breach of commercial confidentiality
- Damage to your company’s reputation
- Damage to relationships with customers, suppliers and investors
- Misrepresentation of your company, its products or services in a way that could be construed as fraudulent or anticompetitive
- Break down of internal relationships
Companies like Marks & Spencer and Virgin Atlantic have been hit hard by online scandals and, earlier this month, American Medical Response of Connecticut was forced to settle a claim from a former employee because their social media policy was too broad.
As people responsible for our company’s finances, we need to make sure our companies’ are taking steps to protect themselves against inappropriate use of social media websites. Based on the latest rulings in the US, it looks as though companies can safely do the following, without infringing their employees’ rights to a private life.
- Create carefully worded statements banning anticompetitive and disloyal behaviour
- Prohibit obscene, abusive and libellous statements from employees
- Ban fraudulent statements
At Sue Rees, we aim to share best practice across a range of topics. We hope you found this newsletter valuable. Please feel free to share it with your colleagues and contacts.