Employer Social Media Monitoring On The Rise

Employers are using social media to keep tabs on their employees.

If you’ve ever shared your workplace complaints with your Facebook friends, you may want to be a little careful with what you say about your boss. According to a recent report by research firm Gartner, more organizations are turning to social media monitoring as a way to check in on staff.

“The growth in monitoring employee behavior in digital environments is increasingly enabled by new technology and services,” said Andrew Walls, research vice president of Gartner. “Surveillance of individuals, however, can both mitigate and create risk, which must be managed carefully to comply with ethical and legal standards.”

According to Gartner, traditional security practices monitor internal infrastructure for breaches, and there isn’t too much of an ethical debate when it comes to monitoring for malicious activity on the company’s own hardware. However, monitoring social media raises some questions.

Well-intentioned bosses can monitor social feeds for things like sharing of info protected by non-disclosure agreements and employees posting pictures of inappropriate behavior at work. But a privacy issue arises with all the OTHER information that could be taken off a social media profile. Is it ok for managers to know the religious affiliations, sexual orientations and political views of their employees for the sake of company security?

“The conflicts involved were highlighted through recent examples of a small number of organizations requesting Facebook login information from job candidates,” said Walls.

Whatever you think of this request for login information, some employer concerns over the type of information employees post online are valid. And it’s understandable that business owners want to use social media to their advantage. According to a recent Washington Post blog, social media monitoring is a good way to keep an eye on the competition. If you thought it was bad enough that your own boss might be glancing through your Facebook page, now you might have to worry about your boss’s enemies, too!

Protect yourself

Although the debate continues with strong feelings on both sides, social media monitoring isn’t likely to die out anytime soon, so it’s probably best to practice vigilance with your social media privacy. With hackers, scammers and now bosses looking at profiles, you never know who might be watching. If you want to improve the overall security of your social media page, start by checking your privacy settings so you know who can look at your profile, and check your friends list. You want to make sure you know everyone connected to your account! Unfriend people if you don’t know who they are and block applications that you no longer use.

What do you think about social media monitoring? Is it ok for employers to look at their employees’ profile pages? Does that cross the line with an employer-employee relationship?

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.