This morning the SMBMSP event was all about social media and the law. The majority of the conversation was about the employer and employee relationship. Today’s breakfast was held at the Thompson Reuter’s corporate office in Eagan and the panel was comprised of: Anna Berend, Teresa M. Thompson, James P Quinn, Jon M. Garon, and moderator Albert Maruggi.
There was a lot of great discussion around the various topics below. I’ve provided the boiled down version. For more details check out the twitter stream for some other view points and comments.
Q: When you write content for a blog or twitter account who owns the content?
A: Depending on where and on what device the content is written on the company may own the content. If you write the content for the company’s website the company would be considered the author and owner of said content. If you write for your own personal blog while using the company’s infrastructure the company may also take claim to that content as well. Be sure to read your company’s policies and handbooks!
Note: If your company has a twitter/Facebook account make sure that they are in the company’s name and not an individual’s name. Use business titles instead of an individual’s name for naming the account. For example: “Public Relations” vs. Jane Smith.
If there is turnover with employees it will be easier to manage a personel change. Also, if the social media accounts are in a person’s name and they leave, where do you think the followers are going to to? With that person…
Q: As the owner of the website am I responsible for the comments made on my website?
A: As long as you don’t change the message or slip into the “author'” role you should be fine.
Note: As the owner of the blog you can simply delete the comments or even enable comment moderation. This will assist in making sure that commenters aren’t slandering, libeling, defaming, and etc to you, a company, or group.
Guilty by Association?
Q; Do employers look at your Facebook pages and other social media sites? Does this taint their perception of you?
A: Yes! Employers/recruiters are using social media to screen applicants, whether it be right or wrong. Employers could be looking for the following: qualifications, genetic/health information, “bad habits”, and etc. We can’t always control what our friends are posting and as a result, their perception of you could be compromised for your friends posting that picture of you holding a beer.
Depending on the privacy settings for some social media sites your content may be seen by the entire world. Remember, even if you have your account locked down your friends might have access to all of you information.
Q: Does an employer have the right to ask other employees for social media information if that employer does not have access?
A: No! If another employee voluntarily brings in information then it’s ok. The Maryland Department of Corrections was asking potential employees for their Facebook passwords as part of their interview process (article can be found here). This is not ok! You should never give out your passwords for any reason!
On a side note – the bacon was awesome today!