Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Commonwealth Bank and the social media policy debacle

If you are involved in social media, you've probably heard about the recent blow up on Commonwealth Bank of Australia's social media policy. A copy was obtained by a news organization and published last week.

As noted in the article, most of the policy is pretty benign. Where they got in hot water was the reference to "Inappropriate or disparaging content and information stored or posted by others..." and then specifically gave the example of a friend posting an inappropriate comment about the bank on a FaceBook page. In that event, it is incumbent on the employee to notify others in the bank or face the possibility of disciplinary action.

Our organization has a social media policy. Every organization should have one. However, it is a huge leap from managing employees and their social media presence to the actions of their "friends". I use the quotes intentionally because many "friends" in social media would not be considered friends in the true sense of the word. In this case, the organization has set unrealistic expectations and, quite frankly, an extremely difficult policy to monitor.


  1. This is an example of an enterprise jumping into social media without clear plan and strategy. Note that social media is interactive and one should be prepared how to handle negative comments.

  2. Larry, that is a really important point. The tendency is to look at social media as a one way channel with the corporation controlling the dialogue. That isn't the case any more. Thanks for following and providing a comment!