With businesses utilising the benefits of social media through marketing their products and opportunities on social media platforms, the question raised is, are employees acting with integrity on social media with respect to their employer? With around 40% of the World’s population on the internet social media can bring several benefits to businesses, by reaching a wider target audience and gaining publicity (Kelion,2013). It can however open up the Pandora’s box of risks when not well managed.
The video above is emphasising the misuse of social media in the workplace up until 1.45, please pay attention to everything before 1.45. (Reuters, 2013)
There are several ethical issue that arise when discussing this topic. A survey by Deloitte in 2009 mentioned,
This highlights the importance of monitoring employee’s social medias accounts as many may not function on the web with integrity. There have been many prime examples where employees have inappropriately tweeted, in some cases racist comment such as Justine Sacco (Ronson, 2016).
With Justine Sacco being in position of a public relations role you would have thought her tweets would be revised and thought through. Clearly as a client you would not want to be gaining advice from an individual who cannot market themselves with integrity. Therefore, Sacco’s comments were the result of her dismissal. Justine Sacco is one of many cases that jeopardise and threaten the reputation of a business.
So is it ethically right to post in a manner that may threaten the reputation of your employer? Is this what is leading to the increasing ethical issue of employers monitoring their employees social media accounts? Employers are becoming warier of such incidents and do not want to increase their risk exposure to damaging their brand name thus are increasing monitoring social media accounts.
However, is it fair that employees are being dismissed when they are not fully informed of their social media rights as an employee? A study carried out by Grant Thornton, received 141 responses which showed 76% of companies did not have a clearly defined social media policy (Grant, 2012). I am not saying that it is okay to slander your employer on social media or voice controversial opinions such as Sacco, but businesses should make it an aim to highlight their expectations and regulations for social media usage inside and outside of the work place as an employee.
Kelion, L. (2013) UK jumps up internet scoreboard as digital divide grows. BBC Technology, 7 October. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-24426739 [Accessed 26 November 2016].
Ronson, J. (2016) How One stupid Tweet blew up Justine Sacco’s life. Magazine, 12 November. Available from: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?module=ArrowsNav&contentCollection=Magazine&action=keypress®ion=FixedLeft&pgtype=article&_r=2 [Accessed 26 November 2016].
Grant, M. (2012) 76% of companies do not have a social media policy. Available from: http://www.socialbusinessnews.com/76-of-companies-do-not-have-a-social-media-policy/ [Accessed 26 November 2016].
King, J. (2016) Social media: Changing the rules of business ethics. Available from: http://newsroom.niu.edu/2015/03/17/social-media-changing-the-rules-of-business-ethics/ [Accessed 26 November 2016]. (Deloitte, 2009)
Bennington. and NYSE (2016) What to do when an employee violates your social media policy | monster.com. Available from: http://hiring.monster.com/hr/hr-best-practices/small-business/social-media-trends/social-media-guidelines.aspx [Accessed 27 November 2016].
Olmstead, K., Lampe, C. and Ellison, N.B. (2016) Social media and the workplace. Available from: http://www.pewinternet.org/2016/06/22/social-media-and-the-workplace/ [Accessed 27 November 2016].
Thomson Reuters Compliance Learning (2013) Responsible social media use in the workplace. YouTube. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZPbJ1NDqX8 [Accessed 27 November 2016].
Kleinman, Z. (2015) Who’s that girl? The curious case of Leah Palmer. BBC Technology, 5 March. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31710738 [Accessed 27 November 2016].
Soliman, Y. (2016) How to set up your Facebook privacy settings. Available from: https://www.grahamcluley.com/facebook-privacy-settings/ [Accessed 27 November 2016].
Kleinman, Z. (2015b) Who’s that girl? The curious case of Leah Palmer. BBC Technology, 5 March. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-31710738 [Accessed 27 November 2016].