Social Media Sites (SMS) is now widely used in our daily life. However, because of its well recognition, there are more and more legal issues arose aligned with accomplishment of SMS, such as Confidential Information, Wrongful dismissal, Statutory risks, Occupation and organization specific risks and Reputation risk (Malcolm Burrows, 2011). And what is Social Media Policy (SMP)? A SMP is a policy that “supplements a contract of employment to be legally enforceable by an organization on its employees”. A SMP can therefore address most of the risks that have been discussed above. Further, risk matrix also include: Breach of copyright, defamation, false statements/ misleading and deceptive conduct and the tort of passing off etc.
China Merchants Bank (CMB) is one of the biggest bank in Mainland China. Its business operates like other banks are toward personal banking, corporate banking, online banking and electronic banking services.
- Reputation risk
In recent years, CMB has tried to participate more through SMS, one of the most important is Weibo. Weibo, as explained in the previous blog, is a new platform almost like twitter, which is widely used by Chinese internet users to gather informations from personal/ media channel. As CMB participate in such SMS, it has a huge reputation risk. this is because SMS like Weibo is a platform that any simple idea could be widely shared. However, these ideas may be positive or negative, it also may be right or even wrong. Under this condition, SMB, acting an important part of people’s daily life, has a very complex relationship with its stakeholder. Any negative side of unsatisfaction of organization would be related to negative judgments and increase the risk to harm the reputation/brand. This risk could from all stakeholders, that is it is possible to be harmed by internal or external.
Relates this risk to SMP, it could be easier to protect organization’s reputation and control/ minimize the possibility through internal management. For example, set specific SMP statement to strict/ prevent any employees’ conduct about sharing any information relates to the work. Or set-up a anonymity feedback to solve any internal problem and minimize the chance to let anyone speak outside.
- Loss and disclosure from confidential information
As mentioned, Weibo, for example, is a place to share and gather information. It could be personal, as everyone has his/her own page of messages; it also could be public, because everyone could access your page without leaving any visiting information. Thus, it is possible to say someone from CMB is sharing a personal information like he is processing a business loan to some listing company, but it is accessed by public visitor. On the other day, huge amount of money buying its share and organization got a lost. This information should be part of confidential, and as the result, risk of loss and disclosure from confidential information exists. Huge negative impact occur. So does CMB.
However, this could be prevent somehow by implementing SMP. As Borrows said, it is important to let staff who are involved in social media clearly understand legal risks and organizational SMP. That could help to risk control as well internal organization management.
- Security risk
I found this particularly apply to banking industry. Banks, always need all sorts of security issue, from “how to access the treasury” to “does anyone else could access the system data”. And even on HR side, they also have such risk relate to security, like “is there any eavesdropper from outside”? All these security risk may caused from internal and/or external. For example, system security risk could relate to virus from internet, or personal conduct. And this is more significant aware by organization management team. Thus, SMP and other Privacy Act/ laws could take action against these security risk. For instance, SMP of CMB could generate some binds to let no access of any SMS or similar sites. As the result, it could reduce the risk of getting virus from exploring internet.
There must some more legal risks may generate while relating to SMS. However, this should not be totally prevent by setting a SMP, but it could be minimized by a successful implementation and understand.
Hope you enjoy this reading.