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You've got a hefty to-do list, from reviewing your company's non-disclosure agreements to negotiating a licensing agreement for the accounting software. Plus, there's the upcoming push for a beefed-up compliance department.
The last thing on your mind is some twerp's tweet, but as we've seen repeatedly in 2013, social media is going to play an ever-increasing role in your day-to-day life. Updating your policies, quelling online rebellion without irking the NLRB, and protecting your company's brands are just some of the nightmares.
We've seen and covered it all. Here are 10 posts from the past that cover (almost) everything you need to know about managing social media at your company:
Intrepid "hackers" got access to the developers' tools in Sony's "Beyond Two Souls" video game, gaining access to a lifelike nude rending of actress Ellen Page. Sony tried the brute-force takedown method, but the backlash made the images and videos go viral. It's called the Streisand Effect.
A company issues a voluntary withdrawal of a product because of a possible mold contamination. A grocery store stockperson tweets about it. Chobani tweets back, turning an isolated tweet into a viral PR nightmare. We called it the "Twitterfly Effect." The company, however, responded appropriately to the crisis.
It wasn't until 2008 that the SEC allowed corporate disclosures via company websites, and even then, only with advance notice about the chosen medium. After Netflix's CEO announced that the company had streamed more than 1 billion hours of video in June 2012, the company's stock shot up, the SEC took notice, and then they surprised everyone by doing the logical thing: updating their rules.
Before opening a store, Nordstrom invites social media pros for a preview day, with free goodies. In exchange, the guests tweet, blog, etc. Nordstrom forgot to require the guests to include disclaimers. The FTC noticed, and issued a warning, to them and everyone else, of disclaimers and other requirements.
A comedian hijacks a salsa brand's name for a faux Twitter account. His hilarious tweets in response to a fellow comedian go viral, but the company has no control over the message. This could've been a lot worse (and a lot less funny).
After a professor's anti-NRA tweet went viral, and he was suspended, the Kansas Regents realized that they had no social media policy. They obviously neglected to read our blog. Whoops. Had they done so, they would've avoided the one big mistake that they did make, even after crafting a policy with SCOTUS-approved language.
What was their mistake? From our review of the overbroad policy, it fails to take into account the NLRB's repeated warnings that certain speech, such as complaining about working conditions, is protected concerted speech. We wrote this guide after the NLRB invalidated Costco and Echostar's policies as overbroad. The NLRB issued a reminder later in the year that we also covered.
2013? Ditto for 2014. We predicted that more states and the feds would recognize gay marriage. They did. You may need to as well. The Obamacare requirement for businesses was pushed back, so procrastinators rejoice (for now). And of course, social freaking media. Check the list. Revise accordingly.
Who handles your social media account? It is a PR person? That usually helps (see below). We also advise constant monitoring of your company's brands online and responding appropriately and immediately to any crisis, whether it means firing the employee responsible, or joking about an errant beer-drinking tweet.
This one was simply painful. A PR professional tweeted a racist "joke" about AIDS and Africa. 'Nuff said, right? She's fired. The worst part was, she was on a plane for 10 hours, which allowed the tweet to go viral and the hashtag #hasjustinelandedyet to trend on Twitter. There may not have been a good solution here, other than shutting down employees' access to social media (not likely, nor NLRB friendly).
Speaking of social media, tweet us your thoughts at @FindLawLP.
Editor's Note, January 31st, 2017: This article was first published in December, 2013. It has since been updated.
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