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Avoid Shooting Yourself with a Social Media Risk Assessment

Avoid Shooting Yourself with a Social Media Risk Assessment

Shoot first, ask questions later. Good thought for Wyatt Earp. Bad thought for your enterprise.

Far too usually firms selected to not conduct a social media danger evaluation to be able to save a few within the funds and as an alternative choose to attend till one thing horrible occurs after which react to it. That’s silly. Especially in terms of social media authorized dangers. What dangers? How about:

  • Firing somebody for what they are saying on social media with out having a social media coverage, compliance procedures, or worker coaching after which studying that their social media exercise was protected underneath federal legislation.
  • Failing to coach your advertising and marketing division on social media compliance by way of what they will or can’t say in mild of trade rules and federal promoting legal guidelines.
  • Opting to not defend your mental property after which later discover that somebody has constructed a competing model, filed a trademark software, and is actively advertising and marketing on social media.

These aren’t simply theoretical dangers. They are very actual, and really costly errors. And they will do critical harm to your enterprise in case you determine and handle these dangers prematurely. Here’s why:

First, it’s penny-wise and pound-foolish to show a blind eye to social media dangers. To forgo a small funding in advertising and marketing compliance with the hope that you simply gained’t expertise a social media authorized danger is like taking part in Russian roulette: you would possibly get fortunate a time or two, however finally you’ll lose in a very large means while you begin writing checks to costly protection legal professionals.

Everyone is on social media as of late, and somebody is sure to make a mistake. Investing in a social media danger evaluation now will assist you determine the social media authorized dangers your enterprise faces not on in advertising and marketing, however human assets, expertise, operations, and compliance as a way to handle them throughout the confines of your funds. That will prevent cash and a main headache in the long term.

Secondly, as soon as catastrophe strikes, you’re already behind the eight ball and your lawyer’s arms are tied behind their again. By the time you’ve fired some over their Facebook put up in regards to the firm, and handed your lawyer the previous worker’s demand letter, the info are the info and there’s nothing that may be carried out about them. If you didn’t take any proactive measures to forestall or mitigate the danger earlier than hand by implementing a lawful social media coverage, compliance procedures, and coaching staff on accountable social media use, there’s little your lawyer can do aside from attempt to negotiate a smaller settlement.

On the opposite hand, had you requested questions first by means of a social media danger evaluation and developed the precise coverage and compliance program earlier than firing the worker, you’ve empowered your lawyer to take a simpler strategy:

  • First, your lawyer would reply to your former worker’s demand letter with a copy of your social media coverage setting forth the excellence between lawful and accountable social media use in regards to the firm and prohibited speech that would get the corporate and worker in deep trouble.
  • Second, your lawyer would connect proof demonstrating the worker learn and understood the coverage since you’d have decided the suitable compliance procedures by your danger evaluation and applied them in a method that works in your company construction.
  • Third, your lawyer would come with information evidencing that your organization was offering ample coaching to all administration and staff on correct and acceptable social media use. Your danger evaluation would have helped you determine whether or not you maintained the suitable coaching applications advert document maintaining in order that you might make changes earlier than firing somebody unlawfully.
  • Finally, your lawyer might assert how you’d be entitled to an award of attorneys charges and different sanctions search sanctions in opposition to the previous worker and opposing lawyer in the event that they determine to proceed with a frivolous lawsuit in mild of the proactive measures you’ve taken to make sure compliance with the legislation.

And that is a way more efficient use of your attorneys time then negotiating a settlement verify. But this might not be doable until you carried out a social media danger evaluation within the first place.

So to all these gunslingers on the market: subsequent time you concentrate on firing somebody over their Facebook put up or forgoing a small funding in defending mental property or implementing accountable compliance procedures to be able to shave a few off the funds – take into account this:

Take your finger off the set off. Take a deep breath. And fee a social media danger evaluation earlier than you shoot your self within the foot.

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Ethan Wall contributes a month-to-month column on Social Media and the Law. Ethan is a social media legislation lawyer, writer, professor, advisor, and keynote speaker at Social Media Law and Order the place he pursues his ardour for educating, consulting, and coaching customers on all areas of social media and the legislation. He additionally practices social media, Internet, and mental property legislation in Miami. He authored three books together with Fire over Facebook: A Primer on Protected Social Media Activity within the Workplace and Best Practice Guide for Managing Employee Social Media Use, and the Social Media Guide for Lawyers. High profile information organizations, together with CNN, NPR, and Thomson Reuters have turned to Ethan for commentaries on social media authorized points.

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@AmericanAir any thought what’s up with flight 565 from MIA to TPA? app says it is on time however no boarding and gate brokers not offering data. – three days in the past
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