Needs of Social Media Policy
In social media law, boundaries between Work life and Personal Life are very confusing. When an organization implemented or involve in a social media technology such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogs. Legal risk is automatically come in that the organization has to be prepared and face it properly. Loss of confidential information, wrongful dismissal for employment, technology risk, statutory risk, reputation risk, occupation and organization specific risk, these are all possible risk can be taken by an organization. This is where shows the important for the existing of Social Media Policy, to protect them from the “DARK” side of the social media.
I will use the Apple inc. as an example for this blog to explain the legal risks. Apple Inc. a company that are selling technology devices product and provide services such as guidance and any help or information about their product to their customers. Before Apple release and announce their new product, everything information related to this product will be confidential from the outside world. With a large amount of employees, it is very hard to prevent the disclosure of the confidential information about a new product without setting the social media policy. For an example, there are lots of rumors out there guessing what will be the next design of the next generation iPhone. An Apple employee comment in the rumors discussion might leak some of the information about the new design of the iPhone.
In the above cases, Apple must address the policy, which will restrict their employees from participating on any social media sites to assure the protection of the confidential information.
This is one of the social media policies by Apple:
“Protect Apple’s confidential information. As an Apple employee you have an obligation to protect the confidential, proprietary and trade secret information of the company. This obligation is laid out in several places including the Intellectual Property Agreement you signed when hired and in Apple’s Confidential Information Policy. For example, do not discuss any Apple confidential information including your store’s financial or business performance, and the timing, pricing or design of Apple’s products. Also, do not post pictures of the inside of the Apple Store – including the back of house – as those are not generally made public. Finally, do not post or disclose the contents of any Apple policy. These documents are intended for the use of Apple employees, and not for public distribution.”
Furthermore, I found that there is an interesting policy covers the boundaries between works and personal life.
“Whether or not you as an Apple employee choose to create or participate in a blog, wiki, online social network or any other form of online publishing or discussion is your own choice. In general, what you do on your own time is your business. However, activities that affect your job performance, the performance of other Apple employees, or Apple’s business interests are still covered by company policies and guidelines. This applies whether you engage in these activities in or outside of work, and whether or not you identify yourself as an Apple employee.”
In this policy, it clearly stated that anything that you did which will affect the works in Apple will be consider as violation as well.