“Social media in the current enforcement landscape,” by Elizabeth E. McGinn, John B. Williams, and Timothy Coley (Banking Exchange)
Banking ExchangeElizabeth E. McGinn, John B. Williams, III
Perhaps no aspect of the internet has grown so broadly in the past decade as social media.
From its infancy at sites like MySpace, Friendster, and “TheFacebook” (originally open only to students at select colleges), to the current industry leaders of Facebook(now open to all, and touting more than 1.7 billion monthly active users); Twitter (313 million monthly active users); and LinkedIn(450 million users), social media can be—and usually is—a major part of any company’s online presence.
Social media provides new avenues for interaction with customers; in fact, many younger users prefer communicating online to more traditional methods such as telephone calls, letters, e-mails, or even in-person customer service centers. But with such opportunities come new challenges.
For example, what happens when a financial institution’s Twitter account, which is used primarily for one-way communications (i.e., company announcements), receives replies or direct messages from users complaining about their individual accounts? It seems like good customer service to respond and assist those customers. But what obligations does that create when it comes to inquiries from regulators?
As institutions increase their online presence and become more active on social media, these considerations likewise take on an increasing importance. With a well thought-out social media plan that considers e-discovery ramifications—in both the litigation and regulatory fields—companies can manage to improve their customers’ experience while still properly managing the attendant risks. This article will discuss various regulatory and enforcement considerations impacting companies’ social media usage.
Originally published in Banking Exchange; reprinted with permission.