You thought that picture of you with the new boyfriend or fighting in public is private from your employer. Think again an online communication services company, makes it much easier for companies to keep tabs on their employees’ social networking activities. Pretty soon privacy will become obsolete…..it will become a thing of the past.
The software, called Social Sentry, will automatically monitor Facebook and Twitter accounts for $2 to $8 for each employee, depending on the size of the company and the level of activity being monitored.
Social Sentry draws only on publicly posted information on Facebook and Twitter; the company plans to add YouTube, MySpace and LinkedIn by this summer. The company is marketing the product as a way to watch for the release of confidential or embarrassing information and to measure how much time employees are spending on social media during work hours.
But what employers decide they want to look for is up to them, said Matt Weil, the company’s chief executive. “We only provide the application and software,” he said. “It is the companies that decide what to do with it.”
As cases involving mischievous workers for Domino’s Pizza and an indiscreet Israeli soldier have shown recently, people’s social media activity can come back to haunt their employers. One European City Council member was even voted off for continuing to play FarmVille, despite warnings. While the latter might not be harmful to an organization’s brand or financial state, conversations that reveal too much could be harmful. People are losing their jobs or being suspended, either because of photos or conversations posted to Facebook.
For employees who do have concerns about their privacy, there appears to be an easy recourse.
IT Business, an online magazine that focuses on corporate networks, identified a hole in the software’s seemingly far-reaching gaze.
“Social Sentry has at least one weakness you should know about: It needs to make an initial link between an employee and a social networking handle.
That happens when the employee posts from work. If you’ve never posted on the network, Social Sentry can’t identify you.”
For the time being, the software only works with Facebook and Twitter accounts. But by the end of the year, it will also be able to examine YouTube, LinkedIn and MySpace content.