Employers caught in a tangled Web 2.0

The popularity of social networking sites and blogs is bleeding into the workplace, raising productivity and security concerns
By Mary Gleason and Anthony Moffatt
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Web 2.0 can hurt budget, security and image

The term “Web 2.0” refers to the trend of web-based communities focused on collaboration and sharing among users, such as social networking sites. Popular Web 2.0 favourites such as MySpace, Facebook and blogs, have revolutionized the Internet. More than ever before, individuals are eager to carve out a space for themselves online and put their thoughts and opinions to family, friends or even the public at large.

However, Web. 2.0 is costing companies hundreds of millions of dollars in productivity. A September 2007 BBC News study, for example, estimated Facebook alone costs U.K. employers about $260 million Cdn a year in lost productivity. It’s also raising the stakes for managing trade secrets and confidential information.

In addition, this phenomenon has resulted in a paradigm-shift in the world of marketing: Carefully polished brand images and reputations are now regularly tarnished by front-line employees who make Internet posts — and the news. Web 2.0 is fast becoming a new legal battleground between employers and employees.