Is Facebook’s New Feature a Welcome Addition?

Is Facebook’s New Feature a Welcome Addition?

Our Account Manager Zoe discusses Facebook’s new Manage Activity function and its implications for personal branding.

Last week it was my turn to host our team Zoom quiz and I included a round called ‘Back to the Facebook’, in which I asked my colleagues to guess which Facebook post (or tweet) had been shared by whom from the team.

Ironically, while I was trawling their profiles to dig out some of the mundane and cringeworthy posts they’d rather not be reminded of, an Independent article about Facebook’s new Manage Activity function popped up.

Want to say good riddance to posts you’d rather forget?

The feature allows Facebook users to not only move selected posts to the trash but also archive them so that they cannot be seen by others but aren’t permanently deleted.

I imagine there are plenty of people who will welcome this function with open arms – particularly those of us who signed our lives away to Facebook when we were teenagers.

No-one could have predicted just how integral to our lives social media would become, nor how much it could come back to haunt us, but we are regularly reminded that it has more of an impact on our professional lives and personal brand than a lot of people might like.

It’s been widely known for years now that the majority of employers run a social media check on job applicants and that their findings can have an impact on their decision to hire people, no matter how well they perform in an interview.

There have been a fair few high-profile cases of people losing out on jobs or having their careers jeopardised because of what they’ve said online.

Some have been as a result of social media posts from years gone by, such as footballer Declan Rice, while others – like the BBC’s Danny Baker – have been disciplined for inappropriate things they’ve shared in recent times.

But there’s no policy…

Of course, we would always advise that businesses have a social media policy that applies to all members of staff, but employees should take responsibility for their social media habits and use their common sense.

Not considering your professional reputation or that of your organisation or its rules when posting or liking content can have serious repercussions – even if you didn’t work for that organisation at the time.

It’s worth bearing in mind that employers are still able to take action against you – including dismissal – in the absence of any form of policy.

Former care home manager Rachel Burns from Surrey was dismissed in 2015 after a 21-year career over an ill-judged Facebook post which identified a resident.

Rachel said she had approval for the post from the resident in question’s family, but her employer decided it went against regulations that they had on revealing identities.

Rachel claimed that there was nothing in her contract containing social media rules, but employment law experts would argue that you shouldn’t rely on your contract not containing any.

Best practice still applies

Though Facebook’s new feature may be a welcome addition, it doesn’t take away from the fact that we should always be mindful about what we’re posting online; just because you could archive or delete the content, social media best practice guidance still applies:

If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online.

And even if you share something privately, you should never be naïve enough to assume that it won’t be shared elsewhere or published publicly for all to see.

Take the recent example of when former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright shared with his Twitter followers some racist and abusive private messages he’d received on Instagram from a member of the public, who has since handed himself in to police.

It’s worth bearing in mind that having an ‘all views my own’ disclaimer in your social media bio doesn’t necessarily give you a free pass either; you should always consider who might see your posts.

If you’d like some more advice about your social media footprint and how to influence your personal brand, please feel free to get in touch.

To find out more about Facebook’s Manage Activity function, visit: about.fb.com/news/2020/06/introducing-manage-activity

ZL

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