Social Media


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Social Media

  1. 1. <ul><li>Social Media: Challenges and Opportunities for Employers </li></ul>
  2. 2. New York Times – May 21, 2009 <ul><li>“ The position of social media specialist, introduced by companies like Comcast, General Motors and JetBlue Airways, has become the hottest new corporate job among the Twitterati. To marketers, it seems, personal relations have become the new public relations.” </li></ul>
  3. 3. OVERVIEW <ul><li>The Evolution of the Web </li></ul><ul><li>Legal Framework </li></ul><ul><li>Internal Challenges </li></ul><ul><li>External Challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Internal and External Opportunities </li></ul><ul><li>What to do? </li></ul>
  4. 4. Web 1.0 <ul><li>The old-fashioned internet </li></ul><ul><li>Content is posted by site designer </li></ul><ul><li>Users cannot edit content </li></ul><ul><li>News, information, shopping </li></ul>
  5. 5. Web 2.0 <ul><li>New term developed to differentiate websites where the content is generated by the user rather than the host </li></ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul><ul><li>Social Networking Sites </li></ul><ul><li>Wikis </li></ul><ul><li>Forums </li></ul><ul><li>Sharing Sites </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual Communities </li></ul><ul><li>Gripe Sites </li></ul>
  6. 6. Blogs <ul><li>Weblogs </li></ul><ul><li>Essentially an on-line diary </li></ul><ul><li>Can includes pictures and graphics </li></ul><ul><li>Can be open to the public or password required </li></ul><ul><li>Typically one-way communication </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  7. 7. Social Networking Sites <ul><li>Users create an on-line profile and content that is shared with other users of the site </li></ul><ul><li>Profiles (or a limited part of the profile) may also be available to the public </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  8. 8. Wikis <ul><li>Hawaiian work for “quick” </li></ul><ul><li>Allows users to edit so that the content of the site is maintained and updated </li></ul><ul><li>Registration and/or authorization sometimes required to edit but not always </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  9. 9. Message Boards and Forums <ul><li>Websites that are designed to allow users to post content about a particular issue or subject matter </li></ul><ul><li>Postings may or may not publicly identify the user </li></ul><ul><li> has 2276 in their database </li></ul>
  10. 10. Sharing Sites <ul><li>YouTube </li></ul><ul><li>YouPorn </li></ul><ul><li>RuTube </li></ul><ul><li>Flickr </li></ul><ul><li>JibJab </li></ul><ul><li>Liveleak </li></ul><ul><li>Dailymotion </li></ul><ul><li>MyVideo </li></ul><ul><li>Gawkk </li></ul><ul><li>Sevenload </li></ul><ul><li>Photobucket </li></ul><ul><li>Metacafe </li></ul><ul><li>EngageMedia </li></ul><ul><li>ReelTime </li></ul>
  11. 11. Virtual Communities <ul><li>Simulated environment where users interact via “avatars” – virtual representations of the user </li></ul><ul><li>Can be 2D or 3D </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  12. 12. Gripe Sites Abound <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>PingMyCompany </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Slaveway </li></ul>
  13. 13. Some Startling Statistics <ul><li>37% of connected employees say they surf the Web constantly at work. 86% of employees use office email for personal reasons. 30% of American workers watch sports online while at work. </li></ul>
  14. 14. More… <ul><li>24% of American workers admit to shopping online while at work. 70% of all Internet porn traffic occurs during the nine-to-five work day. 64% of employees have received offensive emails at work. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  15. 15. Web 2.0 at Work <ul><li>More than 50% of employees admit accessing Web 2.0 sites while at work </li></ul><ul><li>73% of IT managers report at least one security incident as a result of such use </li></ul><ul><ul><li>FaceTime Communications, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>November 2008 </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Social Media <ul><li>Social networks and blogs are now the 4th most popular online activity - ahead of personal email </li></ul><ul><li>Member communities are visited by 67% of the global online population </li></ul><ul><li>Time spent is growing at 3 times the overall internet rate, accounting for almost 10% of all internet time </li></ul><ul><li>Nielsen Online - March 2009 </li></ul>
  17. 17. Legal Framework <ul><li>The Electronic Communications Privacy Act </li></ul><ul><li>The Stored Communications Act </li></ul><ul><li>National Labor Relations Act </li></ul><ul><li>Privacy Rights </li></ul><ul><li>Free Speech Rights </li></ul><ul><li>Whistleblowers </li></ul><ul><li>Lawful Non-Work Activity Statutes </li></ul><ul><li>Reporter’s Privilege </li></ul><ul><li>Limitations </li></ul>
  18. 18. The Electronic Communications Privacy Act <ul><li>Federal statute that prohibits the interception of electronic communications </li></ul><ul><li>It is an offense to intentionally access electronic communications without the consent of the sender or recipient </li></ul><ul><li>Employers are permitted to intercept for a legitimate business purpose </li></ul>
  19. 19. The Stored Communications Act <ul><li>Federal statute that protects the privacy of stored internet communications </li></ul><ul><li>It is an offense to intentionally access stored communications without consent </li></ul>
  20. 20. Concerted Action <ul><li>National Labor Relations Act provides right “to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid and protection” </li></ul><ul><li>Applies to union and non-union </li></ul><ul><li>Must act with or be authorized by other employees </li></ul><ul><li>Must be for an economic objective </li></ul><ul><li>Employer cannot interfere with this right </li></ul>
  21. 21. Privacy Rights <ul><li>Konop v. Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. </li></ul><ul><li>Court held that unauthorized viewing of a secured Internet site by an employer could afford a plaintiff a cause of action under U.S.C. §§ 2701-2711 (2000), Title II of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Free Speech Rights <ul><li>Governmental entities cannot interfere with free speech rights </li></ul><ul><li>No “free speech rights” in the private employment context except in certain states like California </li></ul><ul><li>There are public policy claims available in many states </li></ul>
  23. 23. Whistleblowers <ul><li>Complaints of potentially illegal activity are protected under both federal and state laws </li></ul>
  24. 24. Lawful Non-Work Activity <ul><li>Some states prohibit taking any disciplinary action against an employee for engaging in lawful activity outside of work </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Political Activity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumption Of Lawful Products </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Smoking/Tobacco Use </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lawful Off-Duty Conduct </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First Amendment Activity </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Reporter’s Privilege <ul><li>O’Grady v. Superior Court </li></ul><ul><li>Web sites are publications protected under the reporter’s shield law </li></ul><ul><li>Denied Apple’s request for the names of those leaking trade secrets on the web </li></ul>
  26. 26. Limitations <ul><li>Implied duty of good faith and fair dealing </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Available only in limited states like California </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can be used if employer uses information that is inaccurate and the employer did nothing to verify the information </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Contractual obligations </li></ul>
  27. 27. Internal Challenges <ul><li>Background checks </li></ul><ul><li>Discrimination </li></ul><ul><li>Harassment and Retaliation </li></ul><ul><li>Disloyalty </li></ul><ul><li>Insubordination </li></ul><ul><li>Employee monitoring </li></ul>
  28. 28. Background Checks <ul><li>44% of employers use social-networking sites to examine the profiles of job candidates and 39% have looked up the profile of a current employee </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  29. 29. Remember FCRA <ul><li>Fair Credit Reporting Act requires an applicant’s or employee’s consent before an employer can use a “consumer reporting agency” to conduct a background check and get a “consumer report” l </li></ul><ul><li>Are search engines or search sites a “consumer reporting agency”? </li></ul>
  30. 30. Beware Use Policies <ul><li>If you collect information from users, you will: obtain their consent, make it clear you (and not Facebook) are the one collecting their information, and post a privacy policy explaining what information you collect and how you will use it </li></ul>
  31. 31. TMI? <ul><li>You may discover information that could lead to a claim of discrimination </li></ul><ul><li>Protected class status (depending on the state): race, age, national origin, veteran status, gender, sexual orientation, legal off duty activity, political affiliation, disability </li></ul>
  32. 32. Reliability of Information <ul><li>Identity confusion </li></ul><ul><li>Who posted the information? </li></ul><ul><li>Numerous third party vendors available to individuals to monitor and “clean up” on-line reputations </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  33. 33. Discrimination <ul><li>Simonetti v. Delta Airlines </li></ul><ul><li>Flight attendant posted suggestive photos of herself wearing her uniform on her blog </li></ul><ul><li>She was terminated </li></ul><ul><li>Claimed sex discrimination because male employees were not terminated for similar and worse behavior </li></ul>
  34. 34. Discrimination <ul><li>Managers – who are their friends and connections and activities? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Online sisters, pokes, flowers, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Content/Animus in postings/games </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mafia wars </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Join my group (Christians, etc.) </li></ul></ul>
  35. 35. Harassment and Retaliation <ul><li>Blakey v. Continental Airlines </li></ul><ul><li>After Blakey sued Continental for harassment, fellow employees allegedly posted defamatory and harassing comments about her on an independent employee discussion board </li></ul><ul><li>NJ Supreme Court said employer may have duty to monitor the postings </li></ul>
  36. 36. Disloyalty <ul><li>Employees owe a duty of loyalty to their employers </li></ul><ul><li>Marsh v. Delta </li></ul><ul><li>Employee who wrote letter to the editor criticizing Delta was terminated </li></ul><ul><li>Letter was “simply venting and not raising matters of safety or illegality” </li></ul>
  37. 37. Insubordination <ul><li>Austin Police Chief fired a police officer for insubordination after the officer posted a blog entry that his superiors concluded was meant to undermine the chief’s authority </li></ul><ul><li>Lawsuit was filed – ultimately dismissed </li></ul>
  38. 38. Monitoring Employee Activity <ul><li>Workers’ Compensation </li></ul><ul><li>Disability Leave </li></ul><ul><li>Sick Leave </li></ul>
  39. 39. “The Online Divide Between Work and Play” <ul><li>NY Times Article, </li></ul><ul><li>April 26, 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Article discusses how social media blurs the line between work and play when co-workers become part of your online network </li></ul>
  40. 40. External Challenges <ul><li>Discovery </li></ul><ul><li>Admissions of liability </li></ul><ul><li>Disclosure of confidential information and trade secrets </li></ul><ul><li>Defamation </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright violations </li></ul><ul><li>Unfair competition </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>Negligent hiring and retention </li></ul><ul><li>Damage to reputation </li></ul>
  41. 41. Discovery <ul><li>Social media provide a potential treasure trove of information – for you, your employees and your competitors </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure to check Statement of Rights and Responsibilities </li></ul>
  42. 42. Admissions of Liability <ul><li>Tough lessons learned by Joshua & Lara </li></ul><ul><li>Involved in drunk driving crashes </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures of Joshua at a Halloween party wearing prisoner pinstripes </li></ul><ul><li>Pictures of Lara drinking and comments about partying </li></ul><ul><li>Used against them in sentencing </li></ul>
  43. 43. Disclosure of Confidential Information and Trade Secrets <ul><li>DVD Copy Control Assoc. v. Bunner </li></ul><ul><li>Still on appeal but appellate court held that widespread dissemination of a trade secret – even if through an inadvertent or illegal leak – could lead to the loss of trade secret protected status </li></ul>
  44. 44. Confidential Medical Data <ul><li>Doe v. Green </li></ul><ul><li>Paramedic posted details on his MySpace page about a sexual assault victim he had treated. He didn’t give a name but gave enough detail that a TV crew allegedly showed up on her doorstep. </li></ul>
  45. 45. Defamation <ul><li>Ward v. Cisco & Albritton v. Cisco </li></ul><ul><li>Cisco Systems and one of its lawyers, Richard Frenkel, were sued for defamation over an anonymous blog in which Frenkel allegedly accused two Texas attorneys of engaging in criminal conduct </li></ul><ul><li>Cisco employees now have to include a disclaimer that their views are their own </li></ul>
  46. 46. Copyright Violations <ul><li>An employee who publishes a misappropriated third-party trade secret or copyrighted material on the internet may be liable </li></ul><ul><li>If employer computer system was used, a potential claim could be made against the employer </li></ul>
  47. 47. Unfair Competition? <ul><li>Wild Oats and Whole Foods </li></ul><ul><li>CEO of Whole Foods Markets posted negative comments about Wild Oats and positive comments about Whole Foods </li></ul><ul><li>Investigation did not result in charges </li></ul>
  48. 48. Competitive Intelligence <ul><li>Many companies employ third party services to monitor everything posted on the web about their competitors </li></ul><ul><li>“These systems can be effective competitive intelligence tools” Steve Duncan, Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals </li></ul>
  49. 49. Negligent Hiring and Retention <ul><li>Claims available against employers who ignore expressions or record of violence </li></ul><ul><li>Claims available to employees and third parties </li></ul>
  50. 50. Damage to Reputation <ul><li>Can you protect yourself against being “blindsided by two idiots with a video camera and an awful idea”? </li></ul><ul><li>Domino’s anyone? </li></ul><ul><li>How should you respond? </li></ul>
  51. 51. Internal Opportunities <ul><li>On-boarding </li></ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul><ul><li>Communication and collaboration </li></ul><ul><li>Team building (Serena Software, Nestle) </li></ul><ul><li>Resource development and maintenance </li></ul><ul><li>Project management </li></ul>
  52. 52. External Opportunities <ul><li>Recruiting </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Passive candidates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Job postings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Brand management </li></ul><ul><li>Competitive intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>Customer communication </li></ul><ul><li>Sales </li></ul>
  53. 53. So – Now What? <ul><li>Follow social media developments </li></ul><ul><li>Analyze how your employees are using social media – both for business and personal uses and assess the benefit versus the risk </li></ul><ul><li>The analysis will vary by job function and job category </li></ul>
  54. 54. Develop Policies <ul><li>Establish right to monitor activity </li></ul><ul><li>Consider whether to have restrictions on access, use during working hours or just a requirement that it not interfere with job duties </li></ul><ul><li>Establish guidelines for accepted and prohibited uses </li></ul>
  55. 55. Background Checks <ul><li>Get consent in application </li></ul><ul><li>Use can vary by job category </li></ul><ul><li>Consider separating recruiting data from hiring process </li></ul><ul><li>Consider prohibiting hiring manager from googling applicants </li></ul><ul><li>Consider using post offer only </li></ul>
  56. 56. Background Checks <ul><li>Establish written process for checks by category of job </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No pre-texting </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consistent process for searches </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Criteria used (e.g. criminal behavior, discriminatory animus) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retain record of pages viewed </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss before revoking offer </li></ul></ul>
  57. 57. Approvals <ul><li>Consider an approval process to get permission to use social media for business purposes </li></ul><ul><li>Require a disclaimer if company name is used to make it clear that the views expressed are not those of the company unless the business use has been approved (caution for managers) </li></ul><ul><li>Require approval to use company logos, trademarks or other IP </li></ul>
  58. 58. Confidential and Proprietary Information <ul><li>Caution about confidential and proprietary information </li></ul><ul><li>Address concerns about customers, partners or suppliers </li></ul><ul><li>Address concerns about disclosing activities, plans and finances </li></ul><ul><li>Address ownership of connections when an employee terminates </li></ul>
  59. 59. References <ul><li>Address whether employees can provide recommendations on LinkedIn, etc. for current and/or former employees, colleagues, competitors </li></ul><ul><li>Consider reserving the right to require the retraction of recommendations </li></ul>
  60. 60. Relationships <ul><li>Consider restrictions on who can be friends/networked – esp managers </li></ul><ul><li>No “fighting” </li></ul><ul><li>No harassment, discrimination or retaliation </li></ul>
  61. 61. Content Restrictions <ul><li>Respectful, truthful communications regarding the company, co-workers and competitors </li></ul><ul><li>No offensive or illegal statements or activities </li></ul><ul><li>No offensive screen names </li></ul>
  62. 62. Educate, Educate, Educate <ul><li>Outline the internal and external challenges created by misuse of social media </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly communicate your expectations </li></ul><ul><li>Identify sanctions </li></ul>
  63. 63. Don’t Overdo the Buzz Kill <ul><li>Include the positive uses of social media </li></ul><ul><li>Assess use and develop guidelines in a collaborative process </li></ul><ul><li>IBM - “Don’t Forget Your Day Job” </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
  64. 64. Moral of the Story <ul><li>Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former. </li></ul><ul><li>Albert Einstein </li></ul>
  65. 65. QUESTIONS? <ul><li>Cynthia L. Gibson </li></ul><ul><li>Laura A. Hinegardner </li></ul><ul><li>Katz, Teller, Brant & Hild </li></ul><ul><li>255 East Fifth Street, Suite 2400 </li></ul><ul><li>Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 </li></ul><ul><li>513.721.4532 </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>