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Why Your Company Should Have a Social Media Policy

As the May long weekend approaches, it may be a good time for employers to consider reviewing or implementing social media policies. With the accessibility of social media, employees should be aware of corporate codes of conduct that apply to social media use.

A social media policy (also called a social networking policy) is a corporate code of conduct that provides guidelines for employees posting content on the Internet both during and after work hours. Social media includes platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, blogs, etc. 

The use of social media in general, and particularly in the workplace, has exploded in recent years. Most companies have a Facebook page, Twitter handle, or Instagram account to engage with clients and customers. Despite this proliferation, employers have been somewhat slow in developing policies governing the appropriate conduct of employees on social networking sites.  Important questions we often get from our employer clients include: What should be included in a social media policy? Will I be hampering employee rights to choose the content they post to their social networks? Should I ban employees from accessing their social media sites at work completely?

Confidentiality, privacy policies and corporate codes of conduct may capture the necessary elements of a social media policy. Those policies require employees to conduct themselves professionally when representing the company and to keep corporate information confidential. However, employees may not connect the dots from their duty of loyalty, fidelity and confidentiality under these policies back to their latest wall post, status, or tweet.  A social media policy will make that connection clear to employees. For this reason, a social media policy is becoming as important as policies around discrimination, paid leave, vacation, and benefits.

To read the five key reasons for having a social media policy, click here

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Lawson Lundell's Privacy and Data Management Blog provides updates on the most recent issues emerging in the legal and business communities. We cover a range of issues, legal developments, and new technology as they impact privacy and data management. We will focus on how organizations can protect, manage and innovate with information considering the various risks, regulatory and governance requirements.

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