Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become integral parts of the corporate world. A 2011 survey conducted by the Society of Human Resource Management found that 68 percent of responding organizations are engaged in social media activities designed to reach external audiences, including potential customers. Employees are using social media for company-wide purposes such as marketing, human resources and public relations. Employees also use social media networks for more individualized tasks such as networking and business development, as well as for purely personal reasons.
The instantaneously interactive characteristics that make social media useful business utilities can also trigger a number of novel as well as age-old exposures. The ever-evolving nature of social media requires steadfast and continually updated risk management. Appropriate social media policies are the first line of defense. Neither well tailored policies nor will good implementation necessarily prevent lawsuits from being filed, however. An organization should therefore take concrete steps to maximize its insurance coverage for social media related claims and losses.
This also also appeared in Advisen (May 21, 2012) and HospitalityLawyer.com (June 2012).