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Should you message your boss on Facebook?

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A U.S. appeals court has ruled that social media messaging platforms are appropriate for workplace communication

A U.S. court has ruled it acceptable for employees to use social media messaging platforms to send workplace requests to employers.

A unanimous ruling at a Virginia Court found that a worker who used Facebook Messenger to seek emergency medical leave from their employer was well within their rights to do.

This is despite it contravening company policy.

The matter was escalated to court when the employer refused to accept this form of communication, and later fired to employee for job abandonment.

On appeal, the court found that the employee had used Facebook Messenger in the past to communicate with their employer about workplace matters.

This established a mode of communication as both acceptable and relevant on this platform.

The original policy denying the use of Facebook Messenger as an official form of communication was overturned.

The outcome of this case has set an interesting precedent in terms of internal communication policies and procedures within workplaces.

Some workplaces already use Facebook’s Workplace platform as an official internal collaborative space, where it is acceptable for employees and employers to communicate.

However, other organisations have what could be described as official and unofficial communication channels.

Official and unofficial channels

Organisational policies, procedures and processes may clearly state what the official channels are (e.g. email) when employees are communicating with employers.

This can be in relation to confidential matters and issues relating to their employment, such as applying for sick leave.

However, they can fail to capture the everyday ‘unofficial’ communication taking place on social media channels between employers and employees.

The outcome of this ruling sends a clear message to employers about responding to employees via ‘unofficial’ social media channels like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

This recent decision has proven that social media can be considered as official in the eyes of the law. It’s most likely going to become a more common channel as the world of social media continues to grow.

Internal policies must be reflective of the communication channels being used within organisations or employers must adhere to their own policies to ensure they are also upheld by the entire workplace.

Report by Dr. Karen Sutherland, University of the Sunshine Coast and Dharana Digital 

Dr Karen Sutherland is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast where she designs and delivers social media education and research. Dr Sutherland is also the Co-Founder and Social Media Specialist at Dharana Digital marketing agency focused on helping people working in the health and wellness space.

Business

TikTok’s parent company loses $7bn

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TikTok’s Parent company sees losses grow as it tries to outplay Facebook, Instagram and YouTube

TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has experienced a loss of more than $7 billion dollars in operating costs, tripling last year’s records.

The company attributes the huge loss to its massive investment in global growth. It detailed the results in a financial report which was provided to internal stakeholders.

In the first quarter of 2022, the company recorded a profit in its operating costs, with the company’s revenue expanding by more than 80% to $61.7 billion in 2021.

But expenses that are focused on expanding its products worldwide continue to swell at a rapid rate.

While TikTok is one of ByteDance’s most successful and well-known products, the company owns a wide range of digital platforms including: Douyin, Toutiao, Vigo Video, Helo, Lark and BytePlus. In total, it attracts hundreds of millions of users in China alone and 1 billion TikTok users worldwide.

The internal report was emailed to all ByteDance’s 130,000 employees. In a note of assurance, company execs “remain confident in the strength of our business and organisation.”

The ability for ByteDance to continue to invest in the company’s growth is clearly a strong advantage the company has over its competitors in the market.

A new report found Australians spent more time on TikTok in the last 12 months than on Facebook, a leader for many years in the space.

With other platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube scrambling to compete with TikTok, it seems ByteDance must have a long-term expansion strategy in mind.

The company is evidently trying to arrive at a place where such massive losses relating to operating will be a distant memory.

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Australian government will temporarily change telco laws amid Optus data breach

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Australians impacted by the Optus data breach are set to be given greater protection as authorities scramble to protect the personal information that was leaked online

Today, the Australian federal government has announced it will temporarily change the country’s telecommunication laws, paving the way for Optus to share sensitive data.

The move will see the divers licenses, alongside Medicare and passport numbers of impacted customers provided to financial institutions.

Allowing enhanced monitoring for those who were compromised in the cyberattack.

Optus will be working hand-in-hand with banks to monitor fraudulent activity, hopefully avoiding any breaches.

The government says all of the personal information must be immediately destroyed once it is no longer deemed necessary.

When announcing the changes, Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said financial institutions have been proactive throughout this process – but elements of the Optus response have previously been criticised.

The breach affected nearly 10 million customers and former customers, sending the country into a panic.

Australian Treasurer Jim Chalmers says this latest move is designed to help keep impacted residents safe from cyber crime.

This unprecedented move now sits with the Governor General who is required to give final approval.

Australians are told the regulations will remain in place for a period of 12 months.

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Another twist in the Musk and Twitter deal

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The trial between Twitter and Elon Musk is still set to go ahead

The trial between Twitter and Elon Musk is set to go ahead, in a strange series of events. This comes despite Musk’s recent change of heart over the deal to buy the social media platform

Delaware Court judge Kathaleen McCormick says neither party has applied for a “stay” in the action. Now, proceedings are still due to begin on October 17.

This comes a day Musk performed a U-turn, deciding to go ahead with the multi-billion dollar deal to buy the social media giant.

Musk’s lawyer says his client has “reconsidered his position” and is now “committed to completing the transaction.”

The transaction values Twitter at $54.20 per share, bringing the total sale price to around 44 billion.

The trial was scheduled to run over five days with Twitter arguing the Tesla CEO should be required to complete the transaction.

Musk launched a counterclaim, alleging the company suffered a substantial reduction in its value, rendering the deal invalid.

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