Feeds

Bank scorched by stupid Facebook policy

'Who picked this coffee?' 'You’re sacked!'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Instead of crafting a social media policy that threatens staff with termination over what they say on social media sites, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia could consider mass-sacking the claque of lawyers, human resources professionals and social media experts that brought down a media firestorm on the financial giant.

For some reason, according to reports all over both local and international media, the CBA thought it a good idea to invite control-freaks to write the policy

As a result, according to Australia’s Finance Sector Union, any staff complaint – down to the colour of the coffee-cups – would expose an employee to disciplinary action including dismissal.

The policy as written reportedly tried to reach all the way to the friends and associates of staff members. For example, if someone used a staffer’s Facebook page to say something nasty about the bank, the staffer was required to delete the remark and report it to the bank.

In other words, the policy went beyond stupid to land in a kind of social media East Germany, in which friends should spy on friends, family on family, and reports would pass upwards to the cronies of whoever actually ran the policy.

As the FSU rightly said, the policy interfered with every staff member’s freedom to associate. But it went far beyond that. A policy so wide and unenforceable is wide open to workplace bullying, corruption and favouritism.

Does anyone really believe, for example, that a high flyer would be punished because a friend’s post said “CBA sucks?” Of course not.

Transgressions against the social media policy would merely be added to other perceived sins committed by lowly frontline staff – the ones who get yelled at about interest rate rises, have to deal with whatever customer walks in the door, have to accept whatever whims flow down upon them from above, and have to live with either the uncertainty of casual employment or the certainty that there will be another round of fulltime redundancies some time this year.

That’s what I mean about bullying, favouritism and corruption. Quite probably, there is a corporate lawyer or HR manager who considered themselves brilliant for conceiving a new, easy way to weed out malcontents of their choice.

At least until the media storm arose, and the CBA’s fat cats found themselves egg-faced, backpedalling, reconsidering, redrafting and apologizing.

If any CBA executive thought a Facebook gripe with an audience of a few hundred people should be considered a sacking offence, what does he or she now think of a high-profile news story that bespatters its brand with mud in front of millions? ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.