Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Social Networks The Internet Your Rights Online

Telstra Lays Down Law On Social Media 78

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the doing-more-harm-than-good dept.
Kerrieanne writes to tell us that Australian telecommunications giant Telstra has become the first major player down under to lay down the law with respect to social media. Still recovering from the shakeup surrounding a Telstra worker using the name of the communications minister on Twitter, they have released a six-page set of guidelines on the use of Facebook, Twitter, and other similar websites for both company and personal use. "Under the guidelines, which are backed up with the threat of disciplinary action, employees using sites on official Telstra business should disclose who they are, ensure they do not give away confidential information and treat other users with respect. They are required to complete an accreditation process and undergo training to update their 'knowledge on emerging social trends and evolving best practice in social media.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Telstra Lays Down Law On Social Media

Comments Filter:
  • New Web Acronym? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:27PM (#27655891)

    TVEITPAMOADNNRTVOME
    (The views expressed in this post are mine only and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer)

    • by kenp2002 (545495)

      OMOO is a bit easier, we have used it since the BBS days.

      OMOO = Of My Own Opinion

      Usually in the form of

      -=-=- OMOO -=-=-
      the quick brown fox jumps
      over the lazy dog. I hate
      dogs.
      -=-=- OMOO -=-=-

      Or for an entire post at the end

      Ken P.
      OMOO\NLA (of My Own Opinion\Not Legal Advice)

      • ...of modem tones, and the joy abandoning a 300 baud modem for the blazing speed of my first 1200 baud modem...

        But still irksome because, being a vet, I was accustomed to 50 Kbps and faster - much faster, in the case of some DARPA gear - and could not believe how slow things were in the "civilian" world. Yet I couldn't get hired by Ma Bell, 'cuz I wasn't allowed to talk about what I had actually worked with, and so had to sit silently fuming as the civvy engineers patronized me before turning me down due t

      • by cboslin (1532787)

        OMOO is a bit easier, we have used it since the BBS days.

        OMOO = Of My Own Opinion

        A nod to the old BBS days for sure. I have always liked:

        IMO - In My Opinion

  • by CyberSlammer (1459173) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:30PM (#27655909)
    Why anyone would pose as someone other than who they really are on the Internet is not only wrong, but deceitful and dishonest.

    Sincerely,

    Hugh Jackman (Mrs.)

  • by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:31PM (#27655925)

    "They are required to complete an accreditation process and undergo training to update their 'knowledge on emerging social trends and evolving best practice in social media.'"

    So does this mean that trolls are going to be getting certified now?

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:37PM (#27655951) Journal
      In all seriousness, can anybody think of a less suitable venue for obtaining "knowledge on emerging social trends and evolving best practice in social media"? The corporate training department of one of the more regressive ISPs in the "free" world? It'd be like taking a course on "Anarcho-syndicalism in theory and practice" from Pat Robertson.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by FlyingBishop (1293238)

        How are Facebook or Twitter anarcho-syndicalism?

        Sure, if they'd purported to put out a best practices guide for Slashdot, IRC, or Usenet, I'd laugh my ass off.

        But Facebook? Facebook is exactly the sort of closed, AOL-style walled garden Telstra would like the whole 'net to be.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      Oh my god! I can see it now, a corporate training class (duly tracked in the corporate training database) on how to interact with /. WOW!
    • by Repton (60818) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @01:24AM (#27656493) Homepage

      (3) [2 points] A friend on a social networking site comments: "O RLY?".
      (a) How should you reply?
      (b) What picture might you expect to see attached to the comment?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by skaet (841938)

        I understand you're being funny (and it's great you got +5 for it) but it also shows that you don't really know what their accreditation means. As a previous Telstra Dealer, I can tell you it's a little more complicated than that.

        Before I left the dealership I was working for, Telstra had instroduced a new system that aimed to correct gaps in knowledge people often found when talking to multiple people and to ensure correct information was given. The result is a website where all staff and dealers need to c

    • by MrEricSir (398214)

      Trolling is an art form. Can one "certify" art? I think not.

  • In other words... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    In other words: stop expecting to be paid for twittering all day. Good for them.

  • by SwampChicken (1383905) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:40PM (#27655971)
    ... that Telstra even understand the term social-networking!
    • They are required to complete an accreditation process and undergo training to update their 'knowledge on emerging social trends and evolving best practice in social media.'"

      Clearly the Telstra staff doesn't ;)

  • Problem is Telstra tries to "lay down the law" when it comes to personal use on your own time at home!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Malc (1751)

      If you publicly embarrass any employer on your own time, you will likely face disciplinary action. Telstra is hardly unique when it comes to this.

      • by shentino (1139071) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @03:08AM (#27656911)

        I think that not being allowed to speak freely about your company on your own time is a sign of a power imbalance.

        Any company that has to censor its employees when they're at home is either dysfunctionally paranoid or has something to hide.

        Just think of how many people have to use AC just to post on /.

        Companies that censor their employees naturally have nothing but good PR...until they get caught hiding something.

        A company that can have a healthy respect for self criticism is likely to be better off anyway.

        Of course, with desperate workers not having much room to negotiate, companies are happy to consolidate their power and use their leverage to keep their workers sheared like sheep.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Coram (4712)

          I think that not being allowed to speak freely about your company on your own time is a sign of a power imbalance.

          Any company that has to censor its employees when they're at home is either dysfunctionally paranoid or has something to hide.

          I think the intent was not to prevent staff from speaking freely (though certainly they specifically tell you not to bad mouth Telstra) so much as to make it clear to others that you are a telstra employee, even if you believe your remarks aren't biased because of it. It's not always apparent to others whether your remarked may have been influenced, after the fact.

          * Disclaimer: i work for telstra and received the memo yesterday...

        • I think that not being allowed to speak freely about your company on your own time is a sign of a power imbalance.

          Any company that has to censor its employees when they're at home is either dysfunctionally paranoid or has something to hide.

          Anyone who believes that is either dysfunctionally paranoid or has something to hide.

          I have information about my company that I only have as an insider, and I have information about my company that anybody her could have; there are plenty of press releases, reports, comments about them and their competition out there. For me, it would be very difficult to distinguish what is what and write a post that is entirely based on public information and not on inside information. Result: I can't do it. On the oth

        • Oh, my goodness. You haven't actually read any NDA contracts lately, haven't you? Between the issues of insider trading and giving away trade secrets and simple security concerns, I and many of my peers are very hamstrung in conversations about how and where we work. Such issues are precisely why I use an alias here: my opinions expressed here are my own, and my employers shouldn't be liable for them. Nor should I have to feel at risk for material I mention for which the NDA expired years ago, but which my

    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @12:23AM (#27656161)

      Problem is Telstra tries to "lay down the law" when it comes to personal use on your own time at home!

      I know it's a bit much to ask you to RTFA, but please, can you at least read the summary? Emphasis mine:

      "Under the guidelines, which are backed up with the threat of disciplinary action, employees using sites on official Telstra business should disclose who they are, ensure they do not give away confidential information and treat other users with respect.

      There's this bit:

      If the employee refers to Telstra, they are expected to identify themselves as an employee of the company and ensure they do not imply they are authorised to speak on Telstra's behalf.

      ...which I'm reasonably sure was intended to apply mostly in cases where an employee refers to Telstra AND in doing so mentions they're employed by Telsra. It's pretty standard/common for corporations to require that- and I know a couple of friends who do it anyway just to cover their asses. Sucks, but...even if you're 100% in the clear, all it takes is one complete idiot who THINKS you're somehow speaking on behalf of the company, and you're in the unemployment line.

      Honestly, this is more enlightened than most companies, which haven't addressed these issues and thus employees have no idea what is expected of them. If they don't like it, they can either unionize or find some other way to earn a living.

      • I know it's a bit much to ask you to RTFA, but please, can you at least read the summary?

        But, but, some of us are 24 year olds! We're too young to know how to read :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by fractoid (1076465)

        ...which I'm reasonably sure was intended to apply mostly in cases where an employee refers to Telstra AND in doing so mentions they're employed by Telsra. It's pretty standard/common for corporations to require that- and I know a couple of friends who do it anyway just to cover their asses.

        Sounds sort of reasonable. The way it's worded, they want to stop employees saying "I work for Telstra and blah blah" without adding a "And my name is Bob Jones, Cable Engineer". I don't really see how it applies to the Fake Stephen Conroy fiasco unless Fake Stephen Conroy claimed at some point to work for Telstra, which would have been both odd and out of character.

        What's also odd is this part:

        If the employee refers to Telstra, they are expected to identify themselves as an employee of the company and ensure they do not imply they are authorised to speak on Telstra's behalf.

        It looks like some half-hearted attempt to rule out astroturfing but otherwise is patently ridiculous. It's goi

  • by Nutria (679911) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:45PM (#27656001)

    ... employees have to be told to disclose who they are and treat other users with respect, and not to give away confidential information is yet another brick in the wall of evidence that Liberal Western society is on the downfall.

    • The very fact that employees have to be told to disclose who they are and treat other users with respect, and not to give away confidential information is yet another brick in the wall of evidence that Liberal Western society is on the downfall.

      Dude, quit hogging the paint. I want to huff some too.
  • by arctanx (1187415) on Monday April 20, 2009 @11:48PM (#27656023)

    For those who missed it, the Twitter account mentioned in the summary was "Fake Stephen Conroy" [twitter.com], a parody of the Minister whose policy is to implement the ISP-level filtering in Australia.

  • http://twitter.com/stephenconroy [twitter.com] http://departmentofinternets.com/ [department...ernets.com] fake stephen conroy rocks!
  • by Anonymous Coward

      What I do off time is no one's business.

      Fuck 'em.

  • Who's Teaching Whom? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @12:14AM (#27656125) Homepage

    'knowledge on emerging social trends and evolving best practice in social media.'

    Soooo... some 56 year old CEO who regularly asks questions like, "Have you heard of these two new sites, 'Tweets' and 'Twitter'?" is going to ask his best 47 year olds (the hip kids) to form a committee to write the official company policy so they can tell the 24 year old kid, who has been using social media for nearly half his life, about the best practices in social media?

    Man, that sure is some big, clankin' hubris you got there, old man. You may well be giving Steve Ballmer a run for the "head stuffed furthest up one's nethers" prize.

    How 'bout this: Telstra announced that they would be forming a committee of 23 year olds to explain to the executives what social networking is.

    I'm closer to the old guy than the young gun, but lets face it - the kids are the ones who are defining this disruptive technology. Discount them at your peril.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I think you're off base here. According to TFA, these guidelines are for regulating the behaviour of employees who are on company time. There aren't any guidelines on what people do or don't do in their own time, save for the fact that if they talk about Telstra during their own time, they should post a disclaimer that their views are not official.

      Seems pretty sensible to me, and I'd be suspicious if some 24 yo employee claimed those rules are bullshit.

      • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @01:17AM (#27656447)
        Telstra think their employees are always on the clock - as shown by a court case over the unfair dismissal of a Telstra employee that got up to sexual activities after an offsite staff Christmas party in February 2007 (Telstra can't do anything on time - not even a Christmas party). The two men involved were given nothing but a talking to and the woman involved was sacked - I'm sure the imported manager would have made her wear a scarlet letter if he could since it the false dismissal ruling was appealed all the way to the high court which would have cost into seven figures.
        • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @01:32AM (#27656547)
          It turns out the two men and another woman were also sacked some time afterwards. Since Telstra had no involvement with the after party activities it was originally ruled as unfair dismissal, but was later appealed on the grounds of "character".

          They are under the impression they "own" their employees and upper management has little or no understanding of Australian workplace laws.

    • I dare say the 56 year old CEO has a better idea of how to communicate responsibly (in the context of a corporation about one's employer) than the 26 year olds.

      The medium of communication is irrelevant.

  • Australia is predominantly female. It figures that they are going to be "socially correct". But, they could admit that they are prejudiced. What about some old dinosaur, like myself? A damned cave man, who just doesn't GIVE A SHIT that some little wench might be offended that I belch and fart sometimes? She is going to MANDATE that I get accredited "on emerging social trends and evolving best practice"? Or what? I can't use her internetz? Silly bitch, when I go Neanderthal on your ass, you WISH THE

    • by Tubal-Cain (1289912) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @12:33AM (#27656221) Journal

      Australia is predominantly female.

      Obviously [wikipedia.org]

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dbIII (701233)
      Telstra's upper management are almost exclusively US imports so you can't blame it on Australian factors.
      They are also the weird aberration of a government owned monopoly that has recently gone private and has the worst of both worlds. Think of a department of motor transport mixed with Enron run by a guy that has bounced from one failure to the next all his career but still demands to be treated like a rock star. Thankfully he's taking his payout of millions and his mediocre cronies and leaving soon.
      • Telstra's upper management are almost exclusively US imports so you can't blame it on Australian factors.
        They are also the weird aberration of a government owned monopoly that has recently gone private and has the worst of both worlds. Think of a department of motor transport mixed with Enron run by a guy that has bounced from one failure to the next all his career but still demands to be treated like a rock star. Thankfully he's taking his payout of millions and his mediocre cronies and leaving soon.

        Telstra is the AT&T of australia.

        Telstra is a company that needs to fail so that the australian telecommunications industry can change and adapt to new technologies and trends.

        The bind for the australian government is that when it was privatized it was not broken up so this one company owns something like 90% of telecommunication infrastructure.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by BrokenHalo (565198)
      Australia is predominantly female.

      If you make a statement like that, you had better be ready for someone to call BS.

      According to the most recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics [abs.gov.au] there are 9,799,249 males and 10,056,038 females - a difference of only 2%.
      • by cdrguru (88047)

        I knew there was a reason I like trips to Australia. Besides the climate, the people, the food, the bars, and, well, just about everything. Except maybe dinner at the RSL club.

        2%... I am going to have to remember that figure.

  • by bit01 (644603) on Tuesday April 21, 2009 @12:51AM (#27656309)

    It's good to see at least one company making sure that employees representing the company are identified as such regardless of the media.

    However, this should be universal.

    Astroturfing and all forms of anonymous marketing and advertising should be illegal. Company legal structures require accountability and accountability is impossible when company agents act anonymously. There should be serious consequences, including fines and jail terms, for egregious offenders.

    That includes talking on social media sites, fake letters to the editor, conversations in bars, mystery advertising and sponsorship. Everywhere.

    Anonymous marketing destroys social trust, and over the long term that's a very bad thing.

    ---

    The USA is <5% of the world's population. It is statistically insignificant.

    • It's good to see at least one company making sure that employees representing the company are identified as such regardless of the media................Anonymous marketing destroys social trust, and over the long term that's a very bad thing.

      ---

      I'm going to take this as your saying that company's should not use social network sites for advertising purposes.

      I must admit I did not think of that but I agree with you.

      The background on this story is someone in telstra set up a blog claiming to be the federal minister for communications Stephen Conroy.

      It was a brilliant "piss take" but it does not look like telstra saw the funny side. To me this 6 page rule and guidelines "bible" sounds a bit over the top.

    • by kenp2002 (545495)

      But the P value when I do the regression in R-Project shows that the US population has a P value of .00321 (signifcant) and removing it as a regressor totatlly fubars my 52 week forecast of the amount of bullshit news articles get posted. Now I admit I am using and ARIMA model but I really thing that I have just lost interest in writing anything further...

    • Anonymous marketing destroys social trust, and over the long term that's a very bad thing. - This is very true, trust is the strongest factor in SMM
  • Telstra are only the "first major player" if you don't count a lot of federal and state government departments. I have friends who work at both state and federal levels and are banned from using Facebook even in their personal time. Haven't asked about Twitter, but I would assume the same applies for any of them.

    That summary either needs clarification, or is just plain wrong.

  • This just proves Telstra is now american with no sense of humor.

    What you can't have satire anymore?

    You "can't take the piss" out of anyone?

  • ... there being the following sentence:

    Section 5A - Photographs ... When doing flirty boob shots, nipples are not to be in view. In addition when acting like a complete whore in front of the camera refrain from taking shots in the bathroom. This is especially important if you are an absent minded bimbo who forgets to flush...

    • Unless you've created a fan page for Chuck Berry: he was successfully sued in 1990 for videotaping women in the bathroom of his restaurant, including a camera in the seat (as I remember the lawsuit at the time).
  • Link to the actual Telsra's social media policy [nowwearetalking.com.au] itself and the blog post [nowwearetalking.com.au] launching it.
  • A manager at my employer, a large-ish consultancy, set up a LinkedIn group for current employees, alums and interested outsiders, including a Q&A section. A director took over the group and began deleting answers to questions posted by non-employees, replacing the answers with his contact information and 'contact me to discuss'. These were such burning, sensitive questions as 'To what extent should a non-technical manager understand a technology if they are to effectively review work done - for example,

  • "...employees using sites on official Telstra business..."

    End of article. No story here. Please keep your scandal and outrage prepared for the next false alarm.

Your computer account is overdrawn. Please see Big Brother.

Working...