International Business Machines Corporation & Social Media Policy

Social media already affect our regular life. No one can say they do not need to use social media. Thus, numerous corporations use social media services in their operation, such as Facebook, Twitter, Blog and LinkedIn. Corporation would like to use these tools improve business of company and increase staffs’ interaction with company. However, using social media services may cause some risks and threaten a company’s safety. The problem may use social media tools which between personal life and work life blurred boundaries. Therefore, social media policy will solve some problems and decrease unnecessary risks. The legal risks can be divided into two sections: internal and external.

Using International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) analyse legal risks

In IBM, they use some internal wiki and blog platform. Thus they have some legal risks, and need to make relevant policies.

 Legal risks Relevant policy
Confidential information &reputation risk Identify yourself—name and role at IBM.When you discuss IBM or IBM-related matters, such as IBM products or services. You must make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of IBM.
Privacy risks & reputation risks IBM employees publish some posts in blog or other social network website, they should responsible the content which does not reveal any privacy information.
Reputation risks If staffs publish some personal concept, they should use disclaimer such as this: “The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.”
Confidential information Do not provide IBM confidential information or professional information, especially data does not be published.
Copyright Respect copyright. If partners or suppliers do not allow, do not use citation and references.
Defamation Respect your audience. Don’t use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in IBM’s workplace.
Misstatement If occur some wrong, correct own mistake first.
Copyright and trademark Do not directly use IBM logos or trademarks when using behaviour does not be permitted.

IBM supports open communication and exchange of ideas. Thus employees and corporation have a fine interaction. Besides, respect copyright and fair use laws, protect confidential information and professional information. If you make an error, quickly correct your mistake, it can help to restore trust.


  1. IBM. (2012). IBM social computing guidelines. Retrieved from
  2. Jacobson, J. (2012). Social Media: 5 legal risks to your company. Retrieved from
  3. Hibbard, C. (2010). How IBM uses social media to spur employee innovation. Retrieved from
  4. Osborne, N. (2011). Using social media in education, Part 1: Opportunity, risk, and policy. Retrieved from
  5. Burrows , M. (2011). Legal risks of social networking for business. Retrieved from
  6. Burrows , M. (2011). Do organisations need social media policies? Retrieved from
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9 Responses to International Business Machines Corporation & Social Media Policy

  1. EDIE CHENG says:

    Hey Rick, seems like IBM has learned from other cases and done pretty much every aspect for social media policy 🙂
    Just wondering if there exists a case of breach of those rules 🙂

    • Rick, WANG says:

      In my opinion, even though these policies already set up and exist, they still have some chance threaten policies, such as human mistakes. Human mistakes are the most difficult avoidance in all risk. Hence, they still need to consider human mistakes.

      • Denni says:

        In my blog the article call “Never End-Enterprise Knowledge risk” that found, although IBM are using enterprise 2.0 to create a platform let management know employees and clients thinking. But the social media policy aspects of IBM are very cautionary protect all internal and external problems. For the human mistakes they didn’t say’n much because this is the specification set by the company to employees. So into large companies they have training for the new staff to learn company specifications.

  2. atang28 says:

    Hey Rick , good blog post about IBM’s legal risks and the policies set in place for social media. As Edie stated, are there any rules within the policy that existed in case there was a breach in the rules ? If you have time look at my blog!

  3. Jack says:

    I notice some news which report some corporations cannot immediately correct their mistake, and try to gloss over one’s mistakes. Finally, the corporation has huge damage in their company reputation.

  4. chunweiin346 says:

    As an innovation-based company, Social computing is an important area for organizational and individual development but behind management must be thinking of Social Media Policy

    • Rick, WANG says:

      I think so, too. In corporation view, even though they have perfect policy, they still cannot ignore management. If company has good management process, they may implement social media policy successful.

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