German companies block access to social networks

Two weeks ago, I blogged about how German car maker Porsche was blocking employees’ access to social networks such as Facebook and Xing for fears of industrial espionage. Yesterday, German weekly Wirtschaftswoche reported that more and more German companies are blocking social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

“For the majority of our employees many external social media sites are not accessible at work for security reasons,” a spokesperson for Commerzbank said.

Other companies such as Volkswagen, E.On and HeidelbergCement have banned Facebook and Twitter at work for some or most employees. While security reasons may be the most cited argument to block access to social networks, other reasons include productivity loss and increased strain on internal networks as employees download or stream large video files at work.

Footnote: The official Volkswagen page on Facebook has 484,000 fans.

Swedish Volkswagen video the most viral ever

Volkswagen turns to social media when promoting new cars. In a recent Advertising Age article, Volkswagen of America says it is launching the next generation GTI exclusively on an iPhone app, because it is a cost-efficient marketing tool. Compare that with the $60 million Volkswagen spent on TV commercials on the 2006 launch of GTI.

And in Sweden, Volkswagen has produced three videos that have gone viral, to the extent that one of them has become the most viral video ever made (even more viral than Susan Boyle, thank God), at least according to the Viral Video Chart. “Pianotrappan” (the piano stairs) has been viewed almost 7 million times in less than a month, but what makes it the most viral video is the number of blog posts and tweets about the video (3,100 blog posts and 12,800 tweets). Well done Volkswagen and DDB.

See also the other two videos here and here.

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