Could a Social Media Crisis Land You in Court?

Erik Bernstein litigation-related crisis management, social media crisis management Leave a Comment

Virtual issues bring real-world ramifications

The consequences of crises with a significant social media component are growing. Today you can expect to take a reputation hit, you shouldn’t be surprised if financial loss enters the equation, and more and more we’re seeing social media mishaps wind up creating legal issues for those involved.

The legal system is quickly evolving to take seriously the damage comments or actions taken online can create, and with this comes ample opportunity for you to wind up in court as a direct result of an incident on social media. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a social media incident to wind up having repercussions on social media. Crises in other areas are all but guaranteed to have a social media component, and vice versa, and all of it can impact legal proceedings.

With that in mind, we were concerned when we saw the results of a Weber Shandwick poll exploring in-house counsel’s role in social media crisis management. According to the poll…

  • 90% of in-house counsel polled don’t expect a social media crisis to cause a legal risk at their company
  • Only 54% have had training on how social media impacts their company
  • A mere 21% report that their legal department is “very involved” in social media crisis preparation
  • It would take a whopping 38 hours for a plan of action to be activated in the event of a social media crisis

If you’re not expecting it, aren’t trained, aren’t involved, and need an amount of lead time so large the story will have grown legs and gone sprinting, you’re going to find your organization in a bad way when a social media crisis does hit.

Working in tandem, your legal and crisis management teams can mitigate the potential for damage stemming from social media issues. It’s going to take a piece of your budget for certain, but we can tell you from experience that the cost is only going to go up if you wait until an ugly situation is on the rise to take action.

social media crisis management legal vigilance weber shandwick

The BCM Blogging Team

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