Social Media

Company-Ban-FacebookIf Social Media is so important,  then why I am I recommending that your company ban Facebook?

Facebook now has 350 million active users around the globe – that’s an increase of 40% in just six months .  Of these users at least 175 million log on every single day, and they’re posting more content to the site than ever before.  So it may seem inevitable that your company will jump on the Facebook bandwagon and let your staff post away.

But is allowing access to Facebook really the best thing for your business?  Let’s look at the facts:

Facebook Wastes Staff Time

Statistics suggest that a large proportion of Internet use in the office is for personal business.  And – even more shocking – that two-thirds of traffic to porn sites happens during office hours.  I’m not suggesting that Facebook is a hotbed of pornographic activity, just that Facebook is not appropriate use of company time.

If your staff are updating their status, tagging themselves in photos and leaving posts on their friend’s’ walls they are wasting your time and your company’s money.  And, if you allow access to Facebook for business use how can you tell the difference between genuine business activity and time wasting?

Facebook Strains Your Internet Connection

Research shows that a massive 50MB of bandwidth a day could be wasted on non-work activities.  That means you’ll be paying significantly more than you need to for you internet connection.  And any business that you do conduct online will be slowed down by the loss of bandwidth.

Not only are you throwing money down the drain but you are putting more strain on your IT department by letting staff use Facebook.

Facebook Could Ruin Your Reputation

Your previously immaculate reputation could go down in flames very quickly indeed from just a few careless Facebook remarks.

Virgin Atlantic employees are calling their customers Chavs, and say the airplanes are full of cockroaches.

More than 8,000 Vodafone customers received an obsene tweet sent out by an employee based in local Stoke, and hundreds replied thus propogating the message over social space.  Vodafone has had to do some serious grovelling to get out of hot water.  And more importantly, they have had to suspend the employee.

If you allow your staff onto Facebook – and they can mix business and pleasure while they are there – it’s only a matter of time before the headlines read “Facebook Disaster for [insert your company name here]”.

Facebook Could Land You In Legal Hot Water

While the Vodafone case is a story of a stupid joke gone horribly wrong it does show how easy it is to mess up.  Your company has a responsibility to keep your client’s private data private, and all it takes is a slip of a click for someone to accidentally broadcast confidential information to the world.

Not only could this be potentially damaging to you, your client and your respective reputations, but it could also put you in hot water legally.
And that’s without considering the damage a disgruntled employee could do all with the help of Facebook.

Facebook Could Get You Sued

One of Facebook’s best features is how easy it is to share content with other users – but this content isn’t always be appropriate for the office.  And, if an employee is offended or intimidated by the content their colleague is sharing via Facebook, your company could be landed with a lawsuit.

The easiest way to avoid the potentially unlimited payouts from a discrimination claim?  Block employees access to Facebook and other similar file sharing services.

So when you consider the additional costs to your company and potential damage to your reputation, can you really afford not to ban Facebook?


Katie Saxon

9 responses to “Why your company should ban Facebook”

  1. Ben Proctor says:

    I agree absolutely with the risks that you identify and banning facebook would certainly be one way to reduce those risks. I don’t think it will be sustainable in the medium term because social media is starting to permeate the working space. In, say, five years banning access to social networking sites will be as bizarre as banning e-mail. The challenge for organisations is to find a way to move from where we are now to that point while managing the risks that your identify above.

  2. Dave Spencer says:

    It’s easy to see the risks to organisations and you hear all the time about instances where people are being sued or that someone mucked up and posted something they shouldn’t have, take the Vodafone incident as a prime example. However, wouldn’t a better policy be to educate people? As time and time again, something comes along, organisations try to impose restrictions and people always find a way around it. Engaging with your workforce and educating them what you can and can’t do is usually a more productive process and generally leads to greater adoption of policies and practices than imposing an outright ban, when they most likely haven’t done anything to warrant it….

  3. Raul Palmios says:

    Make sure you are marketing on the right platforms. No need for a Linkedin account if your market will be on Facebook.

  4. Ed Cox says:

    Banning Facebook in organisations is overkill. Surely it’s better to educate staff about when to use and not use these things.

    The arguments presented here could be used against either the Internet or email (people use them for personal business, it uses bandwidth) but no-one’s suggesting we should ban all email and web use from the workplace.

    People will be talking about your organisation on social media whether or not your staff join that conversation. Surely it’s better to arm employees with the tools needed to look out for and manage PR disasters.

  5. Andrew says:

    Banning Facebook at work – really? With all sorts of different platforms to be able to interact with friends and family over the internet, either on an mobile phone, tablet or personal laptop (people do bring these to work) is it really possible to prevent staff from going on Facebook and causing damage to a company’s reputation? Far better to get staff engaged and be sociable rather than coming down and being heavy handed. Does anyone say anything to the people in the office/work place about colleagues talking to their friends and family? In the office culture it’s not necessarily seen as being counterproductive. Engage with staff and embrace social networking – it’s here to stay! Some firms have set-up their own version of social networking through the intranet, which is easier to manage.

  6. martin says:

    I really hope I’ve missed the joke here – an internet marketing & training consultancy
    posting an article suggesting banning Facebook? You cannot be serious…
    Even if you are being clever clever there will be elected members, for instance, who will jump on this as justification and vindication of their own luddite views.
    You haven’t done anyone any favours here and I think you’ve made yourselves look a bit silly because posting this, even in an ironic manner, you’ve put yourselves firmly in the Daily Mail school of knockers.
    Facebook, or any other website (including yours?), is just one feature on the hierarchy of digital distractions. Any employee who wants to skive will do so, whether it’s spending 20 minutes on social networking, porn or gossip in the lift.

  7. Dave Stafford says:

    Hello Susan Hallam, and Katie Saxon, it’s a bit unclear who wrote the article, so if I address both of you, I cannot lose!

    I agree 1000 percent with this article, and I have just forwarded it on to the folk here who write our Social Media Policy – I really want this viewpoint to be at least aired, if not followed, here at my Council. I think we are considering using Facebook and Twitter, and I don’t think personally, that that is the best idea – and, your article confirms exactly, what I have always felt about this issue.

    The points you make are excellent, and I’d like to reply too, to one of the commenters – banning Facebook and Twitter is absolutely NOT “overkill” – it’s simply the smart thing to do. We know that staff are very possibly, using company time for personal purposes already; and by adding Facebook and Twitter into the mix, you are just encouraging them to abuse the Council’s trust even more.

    I have no objection to Facebook or Twitter at home, on your own time – I have accounts on both, but, I feel absolutely no need to log on or interact with them while I am at work – and, the reason why is – I AM AT WORK. Why is it so difficult for some folk to keep WORK separate from HOME? I don’t want to surf the net at work – because I can do so at HOME, all night long, all weekend long, etc. I don’t want Facebook or Twitter at work, because I can be on those all night long or all weekend long.

    So why do staff do it? Is it an addiction – they can’t stay away from Facebook for a measly 7 or 8 hours?? It’s ridiculous.

    You come into work, to work, not to spend any part of your time (except your lunch hour) doing personal things. And with adding access to Facebook and Twitter, you are just making a bad situation (where staff abuse the trust of their employer) worse, by giving them TWO MORE WAYS to waste company time.

    Or so it seems to me.

    My .02 p anyway – best of luck, and thank you for an excellent article!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    All the very best,


  8. Susan Hallam Susan Hallam says:

    Hi Dave, and thanks for your thoughtful reply! It was indeed my former colleague, Katie, who wrote the article.

    We did write the article to be deliberately provocative, but I think there is a strong argument to be had to consider appropriate employee behaviour, utilisation of company resources, and managing your online reputation.

    Banning social media is an extreme step, and a different approach would be to have a social media acceptable use policy. We are in the process of having ours updated, and I’ll post it soon.


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