Legal Risks on Facebook

 400 million users on Facebook

Part of being a lawyer is keeping up with changes in the law. So from time to time different organisations provide legal education events so we can acculumate the necessary number of continuing legal education (CPD) points to keep our practicing certificates. I went to two different events on Tuesday.

The first, starting at 7.30am, provided a great overview of the legal risks associated with staff use of social media. Apparently, there are 400 million (400,000,000) active users on Facebook, with 50% logging in each day. Didn't get the stats on Twitter, but you'd expect that to be pretty high as well.

The main concerns were about the viral spread of confidential information. What if your competitors scanned the Facebook status of your employees and were able to get the jump on your new release from an otherwise innocuous comment, "Gotta work all weekend – major launch next week"?

Reputational damage is a concern too. A popular newspaper columnist recently lost her job after recklessly twittering inappropriate comments at the end of an awards evening. Her newspaper thought the comments were unprofessional and reflected poorly on the newspaper.

You can also lose face with prospective employees if existing employees are complaining about their work conditions  or bosses.

Another concern was employees using their work computer to do something illegal. How much disruption would your business suffer if you suddenly had the police come in with a warrant and seize your server to conduct a forensic investigation? It'd be a bit of shock, I'm sure!

The advice was, have some policies in place with your employees about what they can and can't do in the workplace and using work facilities. Remember that policies don't mean anything if you don't actually educate your employees that they exist and what they need to do to comply with the policies. If you'd like to know more, leave a comment or contact us and tell what you'd like to know.

The second presentation ending late in the evening was a forum of distinguished professionals sharing tips and ideas on "What it takes to be a good inhouse counsel?" I work part time in a not-for-profit organisation as corporate legal counsel with the official title of "Inhouse Legal Counsel", so the topic was of great interest to me. The most entertaining and true comment that I took away from the evening was that of one of the forum members saying –

"I've always said that a lawyer's skill is not in drafting, but in plagiarising."

How true! Only in the legal profession we call it "using precedents".

 

     

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5 Responses to “Legal Risks on Facebook”

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