Social Media – Legal Risks Involved

2 09 2011

In my previous blog post I discussed the good and evil incorporating Enterprise 2.0 within a company. I discussed benefits such as knowledge , reputation, staff engagement, productivity, efficiency and risks including security, loss of control, resources, productivity, reliability and reputation. Although we discussed these in quite some detail we did not talk about the legal risks involved with enterprise 2.0 in particular with social media. These risks can be apparent to both employees but also members of the public.

I would like to acknowledge before I start that I have no qualifications in law and this information is just commentary on my personal understanding of the legal risks.

Some legal risks of enterprise 2.0 include copyright, defamation, negligent statements, and reputation; which are all quite self explanatory. The main objective company’s face to outlaw these risks is the creating of a social media policy.

A social media policy (SMP) a document for putting policies (a set of rules) on the use of social media. Social media can be defined as

” a type of online media that expedites conversation as opposed to traditional media, which delivers content but doesn’t allow readers/viewers/listeners to participate in the creation or development of the content.”

Some further information regarding social media policy can be found in the video provided.


” Novell helped invent the corporate network in the early 1980s and continues to drive technology for business today. Network software began with the sharing of files and printers within local area networks (LANs) and evolved into the management of wide area networks that enabled enterprise-class computing and, ultimately, the Internet. Today, Novell continues this technology leadership with its unique combination of the best-engineered Linux and IT management software to help lower cost, complexity and risk on virtually every platform. We give our customers the infinite IT flexibility and agility they need to meet and exceed their organisational objectives. ”

In this case study we are going to analyse and altercate the potential legal risks evident in the company’s use of enterprise 2.0

The two main social media tools this company uses in Facebook, Youtube and Twitter. They have made themselves very know to the society through these and it has been seen as quite a success. Although the legal risks involved with this could include plagiarism through copyright, privacy breaches and defamation.

Copyright –

Copyright can an issue involving both the employees and the public. Due to the use of so many social media sites employees may upload audio/video or written content that is sensitive to the public thus breaching copyright policy’s. As well as this the public may use the information given from the media sites in an ill matter infringing on copyright yet again.

Privacy breaches and defamation –

Due to the use off many social media site as shown above there is ways that employees or public members can post private data thus defaming the company. Due to the company being such a large organisation thus giving it many competitors this could be quite threatening to the company’s reputation. Not only this but false reviews through the use of commenting on external social media sites as well as their own may damage the company’s reputation.


Although it is very difficult to suppress all the possible legal risks out there the company’s social media policy should protect it from many penetration attempts into its legal security.


Further Readings:

Overview of Legal Risks of Social Networking for Business

Why does an organisation need a social media policy.




One response

2 09 2011
Joe Lyons

Some good links there and I like the pictures and videos you’ve added in!

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