Fired for Facebook Use: Numbers are Up

By Neetal Parekh on August 13, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Unless you work at Facebook, should you be on the social media website during your work hours?  Survey seems to say no. 

In a study conducted in June 2009 by online security firm, Proofpoint,  it appears that Facebook-inspired dismissals have officially made the map.  The study, of more than 200 email decision makers at U.S. companies with more than 1000 employees, found that 8% of those surveyed reported terminating an employee for Facebook use during company time.  And that is double of the 4% dismissal rate reported last year.  Firing employees for using social media such as Facebook may be an extreme, but 17% also reported taking issue with an employee's use of social media while on the clock.

In a share-first, think-later world of wide-open web-sharing, it is not surprising that employers are beginning to take notice and action to not only protect their company but also to stave off time-wasting.  However, the study does not actually speak to whether productivity is compromised or affected by social media use.  In some instances social media has been used to stimulate productivity--such as to generate ideas and share knowledge and resources and connect with a company's audience and potential customers--through instant-connection venues such as Twitter and Facebook.

Social media is on the radar of companies big and small, and as the study suggests, it may be time for employers and employees to establish some forward-looking guidelines in this unchartered territory.  Meanwhile, as numbers are being crunched, it will also be interesting to see how the realm of social media actually impacts business, and if some happy medium can be found between socializing at work and socializing on the web at work.

But for now, employees should take notice of examples of social media victims and not squander a job in an economy in which jobs are tough to come by.

So, if they are really are your friends, they should be able to wait for your quippy comments and thumbs-up approvals until after you get off from work.


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