Employment Law Commentary: Social Media and the Workplace

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Social media has undergone exponential growth over the past few years, with profound consequences for employers. Social media – characterized by accessibility, interactivity, and technology – includes blogs, wikis (interlinked collaborative web sites), photo-sharing sites, and Internet forums and extends to social networking utilities like MySpace and Facebook. The public has turned to these information outlets with surprising speed. For example, Facebook had approximately 5.5 million active members in December 2005.1 In December 2009, it reached in excess of 350 million active members.2 In addition to access via computers, many social media sites are accessible using mobile phone–based applications or, like Twitter, through mobile phone SMS messaging. This allows for immediate, and often public, broadcasting of users’ opinions or conduct.

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