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Be aware of your Facebook practises

Painful social-networking gaffes, with corporate consequences

Christopher Steiner and Helen Coster, 04.13.10 (Forbes)

With 400 million registered users, Facebook is a great place to find a job. For more than a few cavalier souls, it’s a great place to lose one, too.

By now you’d think folks would know what to let fly on Facebook and what to keep to themselves. Not so.

“Common sense is a good guide here, but people can be so taken by the novelty of these sites that they forget there are consequences to posting the wrong thing,” says Kerry Ryan, a litigation attorney with Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rogers in Boston. Ryan specializes in disputes between companies and former employees–and he’s seeing more and more bad situations kindled by poor judgment online.


Many companies–including Cisco ( CSCO news people ), IBM ( IBM news people ), GM, Wal-Mart ( WMT news people ) and Intel ( INTC news people )–have formal social-networking policies. Of U.S. companies with at least 1,000 employees, 10% have disciplined their ranks for running afoul of the rules during the last 12 months, according to Proofpoint, an e-mail security and data-loss-prevention firm in Sunnyvale, Calif. Eight percent of those firms fired at least one employee for egregious violations.