Be Mindful Of E&O and Other Exposures Associated with Social Media Presence
Be Mindful Of E&O and Other Exposures Associated with Social Media Presence02.05.2019
Ever since Al Gore “created the internet”, social media has become part of our daily routine in our personal and professional lives. This includes social networking (Facebook,, Google Plus, Twitter), professional networking (LinkedIn), media sharing (YouTube, Flickr), content production (blogs, Tumblr, Blogger] and microblogs (Twitter).
I am not going out on a limb by stating that these tools are almost expected by clients, colleagues and even competitors. This is not surprising as social media is an effective tool to among other things (i) enhance one’s professional reputation; (ii) market, advertise and promote professional services; (iii) perform services on behalf of a client; and, (iv) gather information on people and businesses that a professional deal with including, for example, insurance adjusting and claims investigation.
However, social media also presents its own potential risks and liabilities in the gathering, use and distribution of information. A professional’s social media presence could damage one’s reputation or image, breach another’s privacy, violate personal and professional boundaries, and create E&O exposure. It is therefore critical to employ risk management techniques to minimize the same. I will spend the next few blogs addressing these exposures, provide examples where claims have been made arising out of the use of social media, and provide some insight how various risk management measures have been implemented legal, insurance, health and financial services professionals.
To begin this topic, I would be remiss if I did not start out with the following perhaps obvious but nonetheless instructive issues to consider from the proverbial ten thousand foot view.
before you type or post
- Have a particular purpose or goal in mind
- See what others have used successfully (and not)
- Share only credible and reliable information
- Remember written communications may be discoverable in litigation
- Determine what communications are appropriate for public posting and what is best addressed privately through direct messaging or offline communication
- Save and/or archive your social media work so there is no room for discrepancies down the road
- Obtain only personal information that is needed to provide the professional service, and store it in a secure manner
and understand your audience for content and tone
- Provide a reason for people/business to connect with you – be relevant
- Be consistent in your approach such as branding
- Recognize that certain language may be viewed as obscene, derogatory, or offensive (and therefore potentially actionable)