Social media dangers for risk management

15 May 2011 Topics: Intellectual property and technology

An American, working for an Australian company, travelled to India during the initial stages of a highly confidential research and development project.

Away from his family and friends, he used Facebook to keep in touch. Unknown to him however, a competitor also had access to his Facebook page and was able to work out where he was, when he was there, and rationalised what he and his employer company were doing.

There have also been many high profile “social media disasters” suffered by large companies such as BP’s response to the Gulf Oil Spill or Apple’s “Antennagate” incident.

There can be very real and serious consequences to unwitting Tweets and Facebook status updates, and other social media communications. Not only can the audience of the communication end up being much wider than intended, but the communication can also be recorded forever on the internet.

Appropriate privacy settings should be applied to all communications that relate to business activities, so companies need to be proactive in carefully examining the possible risks and formulating policies in response.

Team members need to be trained in the application of the policies in order to protect the confidentiality of business activities globally and to protect the brand and reputation of their employer.

For assistance in formulating your risk management strategy and policies contact Cooper Grace Ward partners David Grace, David Roberts or Charles Sweeney.



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