Industrial espionage fears lead to Porsche banning social networking

Not long ago we wrote an article about the use of social media at work which found that in the U.K. 6% of employees spent at least an hour of work time a day on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. It was estimated that in the U.K. alone the cost of lost work time to businesses was a staggering £14 billion. We can understand then that many companies are now monitoring the use of these sites in the workplace and sometimes banning them altogether.

However it may not always be down to cost alone that some companies are rethinking the use of social networking at work. We now hear that luxury car maker Porsche has stopped the use of Facebook, Twitter, Google Mail, Ebay and others in the workplace but the company’s main reason for doing so is to stop industrial espionage, according to an article on Monsters and Critics.

Wirtschaftswoche, a business weekly, reported that Porsche corporate security chief, Rainer Benne, said that the company had specific fears over leaks using social networking site Facebook. It appears from the report that it’s quite common for foreign intelligence agencies to win the trust of employees in businesses by the use of Facebook to contact company insiders, and therefore gain information. We did report recently that federal employees in the U.S. have been warned not to mix politics with social media but how far should employers go in this respect?

For more on the Porsche ban on social networking at work go to monstersandcritics.com. There’s always the possibility that if social networking is banned at work, then employees could harbour resentment about this leading to a greater chance of them leaking information in other ways, or merely after work hours. Maybe you work in a company where the use of social networking at work has been banned? We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this so please do send in your comments.