Monitoring Employees on Facebook, LinkedIn: Gartner Report Reveals Pros and Cons

A Gartner report reveals that employee monitoring through social media platforms can improve security, even as it raises important ethical and legal considerations.

A recent Gartner study finds that corporate monitoring of employee behavior on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn will rise to 60 percent by 2015, as businesses look to crack down on potential security breaches and other incidents.

The report notes that the old way of monitoring employee activity, mainly through internal networks, has been rendered largely ineffective and obsolete by the rise of cloud computing and consumer-focused social media platforms. These trends require businesses to reassess how enterprise security is implemented and managed, according to Gartner. While social media monitoring is already used by businesses in marketing or brand management capacities, the report found less than 10 percent of companies surveyed employ these monitoring techniques for enterprise security purposes.

Gartner analysts warn that there are several ethical and legal pitfalls that must be avoided. For example, monitoring a prospective employee's Facebook page to discover personal details could violate equal employment opportunity and privacy regulations that guard against discrimination based on race or sexual orientation. Covert monitoring of digital communications could also breach privacy laws, the report notes. There is also the question of who is actually looking at this information and the parties who have access to employee monitoring tools.

This article was originally published on 05-30-2012
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