Sure, You Can Use Facebook at Work . . . We’ll Just Monitor What You Post

NYT technology blog, Bits, reports on new technology being marketed to employers who want to keep tabs on their employees’ social-networking activities during working time. Joshua Brustein reports:

The software, called Social Sentry, will automatically monitor Facebook and Twitter accounts for $2 to $8 for each employee, depending on the size of the company and the level of activity being monitored.

I can’t say that I find this to be very surprising. Lots of employees seem to be offended at the idea that employers may block access to social-networking sites.  But the reality is that employers are responsible for what employees do while on company time.  And, in certain circumstances, employers also can be held liable for off-duty conduct of employees.  An employee who posts racially hostile remarks on his Facebook page can cause the organization to lose a case alleging a racially hostile work environment.  So it makes good business sense for employers to either block access to these sites altogether and/or monitor usage to prevent liability and attempt to protect productivity. 

The article also reports that, according to the latest survey by the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute, more than 60 percent of the companies that responded have a social-media policy in place to help guard against these risks.  It seems like a logical next step to engage in some level of monitoring to ensure that employees comply with that policy.

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