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What to do if your employees post tweets similar to those of a DA MP and Orlando Pirates player

by , 05 June 2014
Another employee is in trouble for posting something unsavory on social media.

This time around, it's a Member of Parliament (MP).

On Monday, Democratic Alliance (DA) MP, Mike Waters, posted a picture on Twitter showing a pack of dogs lining up towards a tree, underneath which was a picture of President Jacob Zuma.

Waters captioned the picture as follows: 'Voting Day. Make your mark.'

The MP, who has since apologised and removed the tweet, has been criticised by the ANC for 'likening people who voted for the ANC to dogs and insulting black South Africans.'

Waters isn't the only person to post something controversial on social media.

Recently, six Orlando Pirates players got into hot water for posting a picture on Twitter which showed them posing naked in the shower with their Nedbank Cup trophy and covering their genitals with their hands.

The DA has vowed to look into its social media policy following Waters' incident, while Pirates said the players may have breached the club's social media policy.

These incidents once again highlight the need for employers to have a sound social media policy. Perhaps if the DA and Pirates had strong policies, these embarrassing incidents wouldn't have happened.

The good news is, you can avoid these situations if you have a sound social media policy that covers these three things...

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Three things your company's social media policy must cover

#1: Say what you allow and don't allow

First of all, you need to have a social media policy in place. You must clearly state what you allow and don't allow when it comes to the use of social media. If an employee goes against your policy, you can discipline him.

In this article, Taryn Strugnell, the Managing-Editor of the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service explains that 'all employees have a duty to act in the best interests of their employer. [And] Employers have the right to take disciplinary action against an employee if s/he has made derogatory or unacceptable comments on Facebook about the employer.'

#2: Cover blogging and tweeting

Acas.org says if an employee is representing your company online, set appropriate rules for what information they may disclose and the range of opinions they may express. You must also bring to their attention relevant legislation when it comes to copyright issues.

But, you don't only have to cover the use of social media sites in your policy...

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#3: Cover network security

To avoid viruses, acas.org says most organisations have controls on the downloading of software. You can also do the same in your company.

You can also go as far as blocking certain sites so employees don't spend the day streaming.

There you have it. A sound social media policy that covers these three things will help you avoid embarrassing situations like the ones we outlined above.

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