June 14, 2010 – When businesses think about the risks social media giants like Facebook pose to their company, it’s usually in terms of employee conduct. While loss of productivity caused by Farmville or having the reputation of the company marked by embarrassing employee party photos are serious considerations, there are many other ways social media can pose dangers to a newly socially-networked company.
The top 3 threats laid out in a research paper by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association were viruses and malware, brand hijacking, and lack of corporate control. Viruses and malware have been a long-standing issue for businesses, and now social media adds a more vicious twist. Many malicious programs are disguised as personal contacts from users’ friends and seem like legitimate “you were tagged in this video/picture” links.
Brand hijacking is a huge concern now for businesses just establishing their public identity. When Facebook first allowed businesses to create their own social media representations online, many companies who weren’t quick enough found their profiles snatched up by overzealous fans or malicious users. Early establishment of your profile is critical to avoid misrepresentation and the stress of ironing out those issues.
The third most important concern for businesses using social media is knowing your content rights when posting to social networks. Your legal and communications teams should be familiar with user agreements on the main website. Controlling what sort of content is posted is also critical, especially in the legal world. Client confidentiality is a must when posting content related to your practice. Just as with any Internet content, you need to be mindful that anything transmitted on the Internet, no matter how “protected,” has the potential to be made public.
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Stay tuned for part 2 on social media risks for businesses!