Social media websites rank high for privacy and security

Social media websites may be better at securing information than some federal organizations.

In the midst of all the social media hacking going on, it might be a little scary get on Facebook. If the high-profile hacks of LinkedIn and eHarmony have you questioning whether your passwords are safe on any social network, The Online Trust Alliance has some good news. Social media has some of the strongest security and privacy policies of any of the sectors studied by the OTA.

The OTA developed the Online Trust Index to measure the overall effectiveness of website security and privacy solutions. On a scale of 1 to 100, social media websites averaged a 75.6. Compare that to some of the top Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation websites, which averaged a 65.5 on the OTI.

The OTA recognized several companies as leaders in security and privacy, including Twitter, which ranked near the top in almost every category, as well as PayPal, Zynga … and even eHarmony.

“We’ve been working on a number of ways to update the security of our service and systems,” said Bob Lord, Twitter security chief. “We’re honored by the recognition the OTA has given us, and support their hard work in this area. We share their holistic approach to security and privacy in pursuit of the best possible user experience.”

In fact, when it comes to social media use, you might have to worry more about employers. The National Labor Relations board recently released a memo that highlights several common and problematic company policies restricting employee social media use.

Many of the issues with the social media policies came from vague language, reported IDG News Service. For example, policies that prohibit pictures of workplace conditions or the company logo could be interpreted to include pictures of picket lines with signs containing the logo. The vague nature of these policies may violate the National Labor Relations Act, which allows employees to join labor unions.

Marcia Goodman, a partner specializing in employment law at the Mayer Brown law firm, told IDG News companies with ambiguous policies should clarify the meaning of those policies by adding specific examples of what would be acceptable social media use and what wouldn’t be. Companies have the right to protect confidential enterprise information, but not at the expense of employee free speech rights.

Do companies go too far with social media snooping? Should employees be able to post how they feel about their workplaces?

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.