Social Media – Employers and Social Snooping

It wasn’t that long ago that we posted about why you should watch what you say on social media, especially in the light of the story that appeared in The Drum about the council press officer who was forced to quit his job after an ill-judged social media and social snoopingtweet.

Well, once again the issue has been raised in The Drum, this time looking at the legal perspective of work-related social media comments.

We’ve all been there – after a long and arduous week at work, you’re relaxing in the pub with colleagues and decide to rant about your employer or a client on your Facebook page.

After all, it’s your Facebook page so you can write what you like – right? You know your friends will have sympathy with your plight and will offer the soothing words you crave.

But what happens when your employer also sees your comment?

You could argue (as mentioned in The Drum’s article) that they shouldn’t be snooping and that reading your posts is like ‘reading your personal mail.’ But the post goes on to say that research suggests that ‘30% of employers have taken a member of staff through a formal disciplinary procedure as a result of comments made on their social media pages.’


The problem seems to lie in the potentially viral nature of social sharing. You may well post your opinion on your wall, but you have no control over who shares it, re-posts it on their wall or re-tweets it. Before you know it, your comment could be plastered all over cyber space.

So, is there anyway round this minefield?

Well, we all have lapses of judgement from time to time, but when they occur online in the social world, backtracking can be virtually impossible leading to serious consequences.

Although no company can prevent their staff from using social media, they should have a social media policy in place that clearly outlines what is and isn’t acceptable. Plus, they must also ensure they make it very clear what the consequences will be should anyone overstep the line.

What do you think?

As an employee, do you think it’s right that your employer should be snooping into your social world?

If you’re an employer, do you check up on your staff? Do you have a social media policy in place?

Leave a comment below and lets find out your views – whichever side of the fence you’re on.

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