Google rant proves potential social media risk for businesses

A Google engineer has nicely highlighted the risks social media can pose for employers by accidently posted a rant about Google+ on the social network.

Steve Yegge posted the long rant publicly instead of privately, making his thoughts on the platform known to the world. "That's one last thing that Google doesn't do well is Platforms," he wrote. "We don't understand platforms. We don't "get" platforms.[...]The Google+ platform is a pathetic afterthought."

This has come out at a bad time for Google, as a report by Chitika Insights revealed that Google+ is losing traffic. With more than 40 million users signed up, fewer users are returning to use the platform.

"Google+ is a knee-jerk reaction, a study in short-term thinking, predicated on the incorrect notion that Facebook is successful because they built a great product," continued the unfortunate engineer. "Facebook is successful because they built an entire constellation of products by allowing other people to do the work."

Social media continues to become a strong form of communication for businesses and their customers, but Yegge has reminded organizations not to take their employees' online activities for granted. A survey by DLA Piper revealed that 34% of employers are exposed to more risk because confidential information may be posted on social networks.

Employers should ensure that staff are aware of the risks to the organization and their own professional image, implementing a social media policy that is well communicated and understood. Discussion of working practices, internal procedures and operations on personal social media accounts should be strongly discouraged.

Encourage them to take basic steps like checking their privacy settings ensuring that information is being sent or shown to the right people, protecting your business reputation from little outbursts like Yegge's

Kate Hodgkiss, partner in DLA Piper's Employment practice, said: "Social media is not just a tool for marketing, but something that needs to be considered by all aspects of a business; from HR, to risk, to the upper echelons of corporate management."

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