Porsche AG is blocking employees’ access to social networks such as Facebook and Xing, according to an article in Automotive News. The reason is to shield the sports-car maker from industrial espionage.
“Porsche is concerned that foreign intelligence services may be spying on workers posting “confidential” information on Facebook and other Web-based services, exposing the automaker to unwanted observation”, said Dirk Erat, a Porsche spokesman.
“These services imply a certain threat potential,” Erat said. Barring access at workstations to sites including EBay Inc. reflects “principal company policy,” he said.
I think this is wrong on so many levels. Employees that want to access Facebook at work, will circumvent such decisions by using their private smartphones and then the employer has even less control over what information is being shared. And engaged employees are great brand ambassadors that often share positive messages via social media to their networks. If you block them from doing that, they will not only be less inclined to feel good about their jobs, but they will also not be able to support the marketing of the brand.
Then there is the issue of Porsche’s own presence on Facebook. The company has more than 800,000 fans on its fanpage. It’s kind of contradictory to use a social platform to communicate with engaged consumers and then block your own staff from the same site. And as you would expect, negative comments are already starting to appear on the fanpage.
Read stopblocking.org for more information about organizations that block access to social media.
PS. One day I will own a Porsche. One day…
Image credit: kevbo1983 on Flickr.