5 key components of a social media policy

How to create clear rules for employees about online postings.

Given the Internet's immense social and political powers, employees have more communication options than ever at their fingertips. But disgruntled employees can use the technology to retaliate against their emplioyers.

In particular, social media platforms are abundant, giving employees multiple options for griping and complaining about, or even expressing opinions on behalf of, a company for the world to read. Alston & Bird Partner Glenn Patton says companies should consider these five points as they craft their social media policies:

  1. Prohibit the disclosure of confidential/nonpublic information that could affect the company’s stock price or influence investor behavior.
  2. Preclude the unauthorized use of corporate logos, trademarks and copyrighted material in social media posts.
  3. Provide examples of best practices for social media communications (e.g., be truthful and accurate; avoid obscenities, slurs and offensive language; make clear that it is employee’s personal view/opinion; use proper spelling and grammar; use good judgment; etc.).
  4. Encourage employees to raise concerns internally through proper complaint reporting channels.
  5. Warn that improper social media communications could result in discipline, but avoid using broad language that suggests employees may be disciplined.

Jennifer Morrell

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