Social Media and the C-Suite: The Ethical and Legal Implications
Keywords: Business Judgment Rule, C-Suite, NLRB, Sexual Harassment, Social Media, Social Media Best Practices
The last twenty years has seen phenomenal growth of social media, with companies such as Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter seeing their registered users growing into the hundreds of millions worldwide (and, in the case of Facebook, over a billion). The advantages of using social media have been touted by many, and fortunes have been made by savvy practitioners with a deft hand at using social media to their advantage. However, as with any new technology unintended consequences have begun to unfold. These consequences have been thrust to the forefront as several high-profile corporate executives and celebrities have sabotaged their own success and the success of their companies by unwise and unfiltered use of social media. Furthermore, companies have created faulty social media policies and have utilized Facebook in the employment arena in a manner that has spawned an ethical and legal minefield. This paper will examine the maze of problems generated by the unbridled use of social media in the business and employment arenas. It will also offer some common sense solutions which could limit liability for companies and their shareholders.