Question: We notice a lot of employees put “Opinions Are My Own” on their Twitter profiles. Should we have our employees do something similar?
I have struggled with this topic from the very beginning because there is the practical component to this question which is do disclaimers actually make a difference and then there is the legal component for companies and what their employees do and say online.
The biggest question I have always had is in either case does it really matter?
If an employee does something idiotic and posts it online, will a disclaimer actually prevent the public from having negative opinions about the company? Further, does the disclaimer actually protect a company from any sort of legal action?
For instance, say you post an inappropriate photo or you make a racist or bigoted statement. Should a disclaimer make any difference for the company or individual?
According to legal sources, the disclaimer has no legal effect and isn’t going to make any difference if someone decides to associate your words and/or actions with your company.
In the end, companies need to make sure that employees understand that their digital presence will in fact have a direct impact as to how the company is viewed regardless of how many disclaimers that they make and if they want to exercise their right to free speech and perhaps online troublemaking that they will in fact (or at least should be) held accountable.
As for whether or not companies need to enforce having their employees put these little disclaimers on all of their social accounts including Twitter; that is really up to the company. However, they don’t need to do so.
Does your company require employees to put disclaimers on their Social Media handles? Do you believe they make a difference?
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