Monitoring Employee Social Media
Lately, it seems as though people’s opinions are squashed, and some are prevented from speaking up at all especially with censorship, monitoring and even data collection. With the forever evolving technology advances, and increased accessibility and audience, it’s hard knowing where to draw the line.
Social Media is a fantastic example. Social Media is very popular and continues to gain popularity around the world with more and more platforms being developed. It is a great platform to communicate with friends and family, both locally and abroad, but it has some serious negative impacts too.
Given that employers will often look up a social media profile for someone applying for a position at their company, it’s tough to know sometimes whether your social media presence is for or against you. You may also wonder what potential employers looking for. Are they searching for information to back up, or complement, an applicant’s job application or resume? Are they searching for information that would not always arise in an interview, assuming the applicant makes it to that stage of the hiring process. Information such as age, race, religion etc.
Do employers have the right to access and monitor staff social media profiles?
If social media is accessed on work computers during work hours, or after hours for that fact, it’s often wondered whether employers have the right to view what their employees have been doing. If employees are using a work computer during work time, then in this situation it should be justified, however if employees are using social media on work computers during their own time (ie: during meal breaks), then there should be clear policies and procedures in place for this to avoid complicated situations.
Employees do not appear to realise that the time they spend on social media, their mobile phones and the internet in general, costs the business a lot of money every year. This time is not productive and therefore costs the employer time and money. One simple solution for this is to simply block social media websites on work computers, then issues involving this can be avoided altogether.
But do employers have the right to monitor social media profiles of employees when they are NOT at work?
Some people do commonly feel the need to voice their opinions over Facebook which shouldn’t affect employers in any way, as they are not doing anything to tarnish/hurt the reputation of their employer or workplace and there’s no cyber-bullying occurring or no illegal content being posted or shared. However, in recent times, there have been cases reported in the news of employees stating their views on same-sex marriage, for or against, or situations occurring overseas, which has been looked down upon as their employers simply don’t agree with their opinions. These individuals are voicing their opinion, freedom of speech and all that.
If an employer doesn’t agree with their opinion, does this give the employer grounds to fire or reprimand the employee? Some say yes, others not so much.
The answer to this question comes down to who you ask. Providing there’s no association to the workplace, then the individual is well and truly entitled to voice their opinion, although there have been other cases where employees have made complaints about work publicly online, and have lost their job as a result. In instances such as this, this affects the workplace. It may be a fine line in some cases, but who determines this? It’s difficult to know where you draw the line. There are numerous ‘rules and regulations, policies and procedures surrounding social media and the workplace, but it is still a tricky topic. There is no clear line as to what is and isn’t appropriate. Take a look at what has been going on in the media with Facebook and Congress. They’ve been collecting and storing data from their users, data which users didn’t know they could access, let alone store. It’s simply not a clear cut case with a clear solution or ramifications.
As the online world is so large with so many loopholes, can it be properly regulated and monitored?
It seems as though we should just expect that if we use the internet, setup and use social media accounts and the like, that we are opening ourselves up to be watched, or monitored, and if we don’t want that, then we shouldn’t be using social media. Websites/ISPs/Companies/Boards there are numerous individuals and groups tasked to monitor and regulate at varying levels. Considering the internet is the fastest growing technology in history, and continues to grow every minute, this could be considered an impossible task. Especially as VPN (Virtual Private Networks) and other technologies are being used to cover tracks, among other things, there is no clear solution. Internet World Stats estimated on 31 December 2017 showed world internet usage and population statistics with 4,156,932,140 internet users worldwide; that is 54.4% of the world’s entire estimated population. Easy to monitor and regulate right!!