Discussion Using digi.me

Does The Company Or The Employee Own Social Media Followings?

tug of war

Establishing ownership of social media accounts can be a tricky business. When a company tasks an employee to build a following on Twitter or to accrue fans on a Facebook page, it is important to clearly state who actually has the rights to any audience that is built.

There have been recent examples of cases where an individual in such a position has left a company, opening up the question of social media ownership for debate. In 2006 Noah Kravitz joined the company PhoneDog and created the Twitter account @PhoneDog_noah. When he left the company in 2010, the account had 17,000 followers – followers that he claimed he was told he could keep.

Kravitz had in fact moved to a competitor, and during a dispute with PhoneDog over some back pay owed to him, PhoneDog sued Kravitz as it considered the 17,000 Twitter followers to be a customer list and as such, wanted it returned. It is easy to see both sides of this story, but there must still be a lesson here.

There are other incidents of the line between employee or company property being more than a little blurry. However, this just goes to highlight the importance of having a social media policy within a company. If your own company or the company you work for has any sort of presence on social networks then it is important that everyone knows where they stand in terms of ownership of the content.

If a company is going to set out a policy that states all social media content – followers, tweets, Facebook fans, wall posts, LinkedIn contacts etc – are the property of the company, then it would be very useful to have a way to unite social networks to create a central backup of this information.

With SocialSafe Enterprise, anyone handling the social media for a company can create a searchable, offline social journal, backing up the content from Facebook profiles, Facebook pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Viadeo and other social networks. For more information about how you can start your own digital journal, visit the SocialSafe website and compare the features of our different licence options.

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