Enquire now

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Legal Risks posed by Social Media

Print This Post
Lance Michalson

Lots of IT legal risks are posed by the use of social media. Many of these risks stem from the medium itself and many from the fact that the lines between our professional and personal lives are blurring: we are taking our work home with us and often bringing up personal lives to work.

The concept of an “IT legal risk” has been around for some time and we have indeed been speaking about it for the last decade.  However, it was formally used for the first time in 2009 in the IT Governance Chapter of King III.  King III specifically states that an “IT legal risk arises from the possession, ownership and operational use of technology that may result in the company becoming a party to legal proceedings”.

IT legal social media risks include the following:

Reputational damage to an employer

The old distinction between work and home is breaking down and there is no reason why an employer will not be entitled to take disciplinary action against an employee who posts and inappropriate tweet or status update on their Facebook wall if it impacts on the employer, regardless of whether it was posted at home or at work, or on the employer’s computer equipment or the employee’s.

Breach of confidentiality

One of the biggest social media risks is the disclosure of company confidential information, trade secrets, know-how and other proprietary information.  The common law does incorporate an implied term of confidentiality into every contract of employment and most employment contracts do have confidentiality clauses in them.  Employers should however look at their own unique circumstances and decide whether or not it is necessary to include, or even expand upon the existing confidentiality clause to deal with potential social media risks.

The rest of this article is only available to a registered user or a client of Michalsons. To continue reading this article, please login at the top right if you have already registered OR:
Register - It's quick, easy and FREE to get greater access instantly. [ Register ] If you are a client of Michalsons, you get registered user access and complimentary access to client content.
Register at [ Register ] and then send us an email requesting access as a client of Michalsons. We will give you access and notify you by email.

These risks can most effectively be managed by developing a social media legal strategy, which may include getting a social media policy.

For more information about our social media services, click here.

No Comments Yet

Add your comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Twitter icon


We're hiring. We want a dynamic graduate with great #digitalmarketing and #communication skills bit.ly/1bxiCB4. Come join the team.

About 8 hours ago