Legal issues with Web 2.0

Today we are going to be talking about legal issues with using web 2.0 platforms. There are many legal issues that can befall a company and most get taken by surprise. In this blog I will talk about the various legal issues a company such as BlackBerry might face. I will also go through what you need to do to minimise the risks.

BlackBerry is a very large phone company with a substantial amount of social media presence. It has over 11 million likes on face book with 12,000 people discussing the company on Facebook. It also has a large YouTube and twitter audience. In other words BlackBerry has a large social presence however this also comes with several problems and legal risks.

There are several types of risks you need to take into account. The first of these is posting misleading information and having deceptive conduct. Such issues could get a company into heaps of trouble. For instance if they were to post something misleading even as simple as making a joke about the number of iPhone sales they could get sued for misinformation. One of the problems with social media is it blurs the line between work and fun. This can be a problem if you don’t have a proper social media policy to minimise the risks. This can lead to problems with employees

Consultants or employees might inadvertently post confidential information related to the company. This could result in a breach of privacy or even worse an NDA breach with a partner company. Also employees might not be tactful in dealing with annoyed or angry customers that could lead to a loss in its reputation. When BlackBerry had its infamous service disaster the company kept quiet on its social media platforms resulting in a loss of confidence and confusion. While this is not a direct legal risk it does make customers more likely to sue for loss of service if there is no explanation for the problem.

So how do we minimise the risks? There are several ways to minimise the risk related to social media. The first is social media monitoring. With social media monitoring you can use things such as Google alerts and Radian 6 to monitor what is being said or happening with your brand. You can also have different levels of control for employees using the social media websites under your company’s name. Proper training in good conduct can also go a long way to making sure nothing inappropriate goes out online.

However all of this is nothing compared to having a good social media policy. With a good social media policy you can lay down rules and regulations as to what gets posted online and who can post it. You can also make sure that multiple people must approve the posts before they are sent out and police what type of content gets sent online.

After the initial mess-up that blackberry made when they first started using web 2.0 systems they have had a very clean record undoubtedly due to their fixing and implementing of a good social media policy.


Want to read more about BlackBerrys Social media failture?


9 comments on “Legal issues with Web 2.0

  1. sukhshans says:

    You have brought up many interesting points in respect to the Blackberry social media issues. Having a large audience can really damage the reputation of the company and the case of Blackberry, it could very well be sales. Organizations that started using social media should respond to their audience and gain good communication relation with their customer. In my opinion, hiding your problems and keeping your audience from knowing something that they should be informed of is a very risky move. Do you think that the social media audience should be informed of in this situation or is it something Blackberry should just keep in within the company?

    • Yeah sales in particular seemed to go down after the event although that could be due to other factors as well. I think the audiance should be informed if they need to. In this case they had something like a 3 day blackout and everyone was asking them about it. They should have informed the audiance at least with a message saying there was a problem and that they were working on it. However at times if it is a mainly internal thing (or a really small group with the problem) that doesn’t need to be known to the wider audiance it would be wise to not inform the public.

      • sukhshans says:

        It is true, many factors could contribute to the sales. Sometimes it could be hard for organization to explain what actually is wrong and if they did not explain it very well, this could create a panic and could also create a bad reputation.

  2. guanhwalin says:

    Misleading information on the internet can really do harm! The picture you included in this post perfectly suit what you’re saying

  3. Agreed to the above comment – misinformation is a big problem with the internet. I mean just the other day someone on my Facebook feed posted something about you know.. Samsung getting sued by Apple? and then paying Apple back in coins? or something a rather…but it turned out to be completely fabricated and false(the coins)..So lucky i didn’t spread that rumor gosh! I went on further to do some research of course. but im getting off topic. Great post ! haha enjoyed the image also! 🙂

    • Haha yeah I saw that story as well. I didn’t think much of it at the time apart from thinking the number of trucks would be to low to transport them(yes I actually thought that). People often spread misinformation sometimes with good intent. It would be amusing or funny to think they paid on coins but people making jokes like that could get a company in trouble if they worked there.

  4. Blackberry recently started to turn the company around massively, but instead of making use of standard social media, they prefer the direct dialog with customers. I myself went to a blackberry devcon, and walked away with an alpha device and 3 business cards of some of the employees, who want to know what their developers and/or fans are thinking. Social media can be a disastrous trap for any large company, but I must say, I like the way they are dealing with it at the moment.
    Cheers !

    • Wow really? That’s amazing. It’s things like this that can get spread around the internet or by word of mouth that is also really good (or bad depending on the circumstances) for a company. I have more respect for blackberry now even though my only source is you.

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