Social Media, Compliance and the Law: Part 2

By Michael
August 3, 2011

Recently I started a discussion about the challenges companies are facing in managing social media data to meet compliance and legal requirements. As companies grapple with these challenges, some elements of the solution are beginning to emerge. Foremost among them: policy, tools and storage.


No doubt about it, your company needs an overall policy that specifically covers acceptable use of social media. Experts advise that a good social media policy should “demonstrate that [the company is] exercising due diligence to promote ethical conduct and prevent criminal conduct in the context of social media activity.” Needless to say, an effective policy is not only one that is actively enforced but also one on which employees are trained and informed.

Aside from the need for an overall policy, a demand that’s even more relevant for IT is the requirement to have a data retention policy that specifies how the organization will treat social media content. Making sure your retention policy addresses social media data will help ensure that you retain files that you need to meet compliance timeframes and requirements.

It also can help minimize your legal risk. The trick is to set a policy that strikes a balance between retaining too much data—creating unnecessary legal exposures, driving up legal costs and delaying e-discovery—and not enough data—resulting in court sanctions for destroying potential evidence. A consistent social media data retention and discovery policy minimizes these risks, while also demonstrating that any data destroyed prior to a lawsuit was purged methodically, according to a policy, rather than targeted for destruction as potential evidence. This balance is going to be different for every organization.


Of course, being able to manage retention of social media data depends on a company’s ability to obtain that data in the first place. The method for capturing relevant social media content ranges from manually monitoring social media sites and saving screen captures to using tools and services from providers like Arkovi, Iterasi, Erado and LiveOffice. The right solution depends on your company size, budget and where this need falls on your priority list (near the top for regulated industries, for example).

In the final post in this series, I’ll get into the data management aspect of this challenge. What other elements should be a part of this solution? Are there things your organization has learned the hard way about meeting social media compliance and legal challenges?

Read Social Media, Compliance and the Law: Part 1

Read Social Media, Compliance and the Law: Part 3


  1. many of the companies are relaying on the social media platforms to promote their business. It is good that they follow a common rule.

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