Protect Your Company From Social Media Mayhem

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As companies wade into social media, many find that it’s challenging to develop sound legal policies about the use of this technology. Sharon Toerek, a partner at the Cleveland law firm of Licata & Toerek, says too many companies construct social media policies in a vacuum. “It requires a multidisciplinary approach,” she advises. “You need input from all the groups in the organization.”Toerek and Lisa Zone, a senior vice president at the public relations firm Dix & Eaton, offer these guidelines for companies engaging in social media:

  • Clearly define specific behaviors and actions that aren’t acceptable.
  • Cover the range of events that could theoretically take place, but be specific enough to deal with real events and situations.
  • Extend policies and training to junior employees and independent contractors who post to social media sites.
  • Define who owns the followers and content of company-owned social media accounts.
  • In some cases, specify ownership in a contract between the organization and the employee or contractor.
  • Analyze policies regularly and examine issues and problems as they arise.

Adapted from “Some Social Media Policies Are Unlawful” at