As one of the 3.2 million avid facebook users, I don’t think twice about logging on, checking my profile and indulging in a little behind-the-scenes stalking of those school friends I’ve not seen in years. I’m one of the lucky ones. Many employees are now finding that they can no longer access the cyber world of ‘walls’ and ‘pokes’ from their real world of work.
British Gas, Lloyds TSB, Bloomberg, the Metropolitan Police and Credit Suisse are among the increasing number of firms actively blocking their employees from accessing the site from their workstations. They are of the opinion that those working for them are ‘time-wasting’ or ‘dossing around’. As one spokeswoman from Scotland Yard identfied “Access to some websites is blocked as there is no business need for employees to visit them. Facebook is one of these sites. Access to blocked sites is granted when required for business needs only.”
Those that leave websites such as facebook accessible by colleagues may find that they risk running into some sticky situations as 118 118 discovered recently. In an article published today, it emerged that employees at the directory enquiries group are facing being dismissed after bosses were made aware of a group on facebook in which the workers were making comments about callers they had dealt with. 118118 had been trying since May to remove the group, ‘I survived 118118’, describing it as ‘defamatory’ but it was not until today that the group was removed. The company is now investigating the workers who were involved in the group and who are now facing disciplinary proceedings.
With the increasing number of subscribers to facebook and similar sites, cases such as this are on the increase; Royal Mail reported that workers across their company are responsible for at least one hundred groups on the social networking site. In line with the technological advances being made in relation to life in the work place, questions arise regarding where the boundaries lie for employees and employers alike. It is important that companies set out clear policies and standards in relation to use of the internet in the workplace so that everybody is protected, whether it be against time-wasting or against controversial groups making known to the other 3.2 million facebookers out there what your company’s really like.