Social Media Governance Lacking
March 01, 2011
Research firm Gartner Inc. says that despite the rise of social media, many organizations do not have governance policies in place for its use. According to an EFYTimes.com article, by the end of 2013, half of all companies will have been asked to produce material from social media websites for e-discovery, so enterprises need an overall governance strategy for all applications and information.
Gartner Vice President Debra Logan said that the legalities around social media are conflicting, due to overlapping and contradictory laws and regulations. The article stated that there are some specific laws and regulations, such as the SEC Rule 17a-4, that apply to vertical markets and make the governance of social media easier for those markets, but for most corporations, there are no clear rules. Gartner stated that since there is no guarantee of absolute safety, the safest option is to have a consistent policy.
"Social media content is like all other content that is created by companies and individuals and is subject to the same rules, laws and customs," said Logan. "Policymakers need to keep policies simple when it comes to what should and should not be done online. A good rule of thumb is that whatever the company code of conduct is for in-person encounters, and whatever the rules are for general good behavior and common sense apply in the online world as well," she continued.
According to the EFTTimes.com article, Gartner estimated that by the end of 2012, 50% of companies will attempt to ban access to social media websites. "If, for example, a technology creates content that cannot be captured for archival purposes and that archive is required by law, then the organization must tell employees who are subject to the rules not to use the technology even unofficially," said Logan.
Gartner’s related report, “Social Media Governance: An Ounce of Prevention,” can be accessed here. (Registration and purchase required.)
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Washington Policy Brief