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Social Media Risks

Business Beware

Companies use social media to promote products, communicate with customers, collaborate with business partners, and provide leadership around the various issues that affect their industries.

However, those same platforms can make your business vulnerable to social media risks because everyone using social media today is a “publisher.” It opens up your business to traditional media exposures such as defamation, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, trademark infringement, etc.

For example, you and your employees may think it’s harmless to informally “tweet” the latest information about your company’s happenings or share content on YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media platform. However, casual commentary over electronic media can lead to formal trouble if the subject of the message considers it to be personally offensive.

Also, your business may be held liable for your communications, as well as the communications from your employees. Consider what could happen if one of your workers made disparaging comments about your company or your competitors or their products. The speed at which such comments can reach millions of people and gain credibility is unprecedented.

However, there are steps you can take when using social media to help diminish the risk to your company:

  • Develop a comprehensive social media policy and establish the ground rules with employees to avoid potential terminations.
  • Don’t relax your writing rules. Even though a tweet isn’t an official memo or email, your company can still get sued.
  • Update all contracts to allow posting of content from a speech, conference call, white paper, webinar, etc. in social media.
  • Think before you click. Ask yourself: Is this information relevant to the corporate message and business practice?
  • Discover the editing floor. Is the post insulting, offensive, or defamatory? Err on the side of caution.
  • Designate a social media guru with appropriate experience and knowledge to pre-screen content.
  • Establish a gatekeeper to protect the corporate username and password. This will help ensure disgruntled employees cannot post on behalf of the company.
  • Act fast to take down infringing or offensive material.

Following these measures can help protect your company while it interacts online. Also, be sure to follow strong legal counsel for defamation laws in your state and use a solid insurance policy as a last line of defense.

Learn more about how to help protect your business from cyber risks at

The opinions and positions expressed in this report are the authors’ own and not those of Chubb. The information and/ or data provided herein is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Insurance coverage is subject to the language of the policies as issued.
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