Social Media — April 22, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Social media privacy at work?

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Is there social media privacy at work? It is a controversial question. State lawmakers are tightening laws to prohibit companies from monitoring private social media accounts used by employees while at work.

But federal regulators say there are good reasons for snooping. In the investment world, companies are worried about proprietary information being disseminated to investors and speculators. The Wall Street Journal reports that securities regulators worry that the raft of new laws aimed at protecting employees’ privacy puts investors at risk.

Regulators fear the fast spread of financial advice on social networks such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. could create new channels for Ponzi schemes and other frauds, and that fighting those frauds will be harder if state lawmakers snarl efforts by companies to monitor what employees are pitching to investors.

The changes in state law are in response to companies requiring job applicants to hand over their username and password before being hired. Job applicants say this practice violates their privacy.

After fielding complaints, state lawmakers are moving to restrict companies’ monitoring of employees’ personal Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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