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SNS (Social network sites) such as MySpace, Facebook and Twitter have rapidly grown in recent years as the development of Web 2.0. These SNSs have attracted millions of users, many of whom have integrated these sites into their daily life, especially young people. SNS provide a platform for users to publish personal information, including text, photographs, videos and etc.  Many people feel free to participate in the social network. But is the virtual world really free?  The answer is no! The real world principles should be obeyed in SNSs as well. For example, images, video, music, and text uploaded to SNS are the subject matter of copyright, if someone uses the resource without the copyright owner’s permission, which will be an infringement act.

For the organisation, social media policy seems to be very important as employees using SNSs can bring some risks to the organisation such as:

Confidential information risks
Wrongful dismissal
Technology risk
Copyright infringement
Statutory risk
Defamation
Occupation and industry specific risks
Reputation risks
 

I think the most important thing is the confidential information for an organisation because it is directly associated with the profit and foundation of the organisation.  Every organisation should explicitly stipulate it. There is an example of this rule which made by Cisco:

Your Internet postings should not disclose any information that is confidential or proprietary to the company or to any third party that has disclosed information to Cisco.

When an employee want to post something involves the subject of the organisation, (s) he should clearly the identity and a disclaimer to demonstrate it is only personal view.

One person’s professional integrity can be judged by whether (s) he respect other’s copyright or privacy. Using a network resource without permission is the same as stealing. Meanwhile, one’s wording can reflect one’s character. On one would like to engage a dishonest or a rude man. Defamation is an illegal conduct. So the policy about copyright and language network are very necessary.

To sum up, in the era of the rapid development of the Web 2.0, every organisation and individual should be mindful of the legal risks of the Social Media. Therefore, a full-scale Social Media Policy is essential to an organisation.

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