Legal implications for Corporate Social Presence

There is a strange but typical story of a person looking at the sky. This individual was intently looking at the sky and appeared to deliberate on something peculiar. Another fellow walking by notices this and starts looking at sky with an equal interest. Soon a small crowd gathers around the first person, each person looking at the sky and trying to figure out what the others were looking at!

This story may or may not be true. But if we transpose the same scenario to reflect today’s organizations and their want for a ‘Social’ presence, it will surely be a correct depiction. All companies, small and large want to be present in the Social circles, probably not wanting to miss the bandwagon.

There are pros and cons to it, but that’s not my point now.

One of our customers, when we were proposing a ‘Social’ solution, came up with an interesting yet simple question.

Could they be sued by an individual if they fail to react / respond to a complaining post made on any social media by that person (where our customer has a presence). For example, if an individual tweets about a significant product defect / fault on Twitter and given that our customer has a Twitter presence; can that individual sue my customer if they fail to address the problem?

Well, this is a new domain for me. In this era, when many known organizations are gung ho about being ‘Social’, I wonder whether each of them address the legal ramifications that it may have.

For instance, if a company wants to be on multiple social channels, do they take care for the following?

a) Check if they inadvertently don’t leak proprietary information

b) Do not publish information that leads to copyright infringement

c) Address the issue of their data / information handling if they decide to vacate a particular social channel.

I am sure that there are many more implications.

Till the time I revisit this again, I’d appreciate your comments. How should an organization plan for its social journey, what care should be taken?

Aditya

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