Is Your Company's Social Media Launch Ahead Of Its Compliance Program

Many businesses are still coasting along enjoying the marketing advantages of social media without making sure they have a good compliance program in place. For every company with a Facebook fan page or Twitter account roughly 65 percent would admit they do not have a social media policy. For companies with a social media policy, many of those policies have been lifted from online samples that may be over broad, and include provisions that have been challenged with some success in court.

"Penny wise and pound foolish," companies are not having their social media business practices reviewed by knowledgeable legal counsel. Companies invest time and money putting together a Facebook fan page that is promoted throughout the company without training their employees on the Do's and Don'ts of posting comments on the fan page, or using social media in general.

Another risk of social media was highlighted by settlements that the FTC reached with Twitter and Google concerning shortcomings in their privacy guidelines. The consent decrees reached by each of the companies highlight how seriously the FTC takes the safeguarding of consumer information. In the case of Twitter, the FTC put the responsibility for hackers gaining administrative access to Twitter personal accounts on Twitter. One hacker gained access to non-public information such as users email addresses and mobile phone numbers. The same hacker changed the passwords for approximately 45 high profile Twitter users including President Obama and sent phony tweets from those accounts.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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