It is not uncommon for business people to upload the occasional
'selfie' as a means to connect with their customers on a
more personal level. Whilst posting your photos on social
networking channels can create welcome interest in your business,
there is a significant risk in unintentionally disclosing private
or confidential information.
British Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, found
himself being accused of breaching patient confidentiality earlier
this year. After visiting a local hospital, Hunt commended medics,
posing for a picture beside them which he uploaded to his personal
Twitter account. Unfortunately, his picture also captured a
whiteboard of patients' names in the background. Just minutes
later, the original photo was replaced with the amended image below
– no longer featuring the confidential information.
Twitter users were outraged by Hunt's conduct and began
firing heated tweets at the Secretary of State for Health,
demanding he apologise to patients.
Others went as far as encouraging disciplinary action against
Another selfie mishap occurred this month when a triumphant
punter uploaded a photo of herself with her winning Melbourne cup
bet. The original image included important details of her
receipt...including the personalised barcode.
Chantelle had a rude awakening when she tried to claim her
winnings (over $850). A so-called Facebook 'friend' had
beaten her to the punch - manipulating her selfie in a way that
allowed the ticket to pass as legitimate and withdrawing her
winnings from an automated machine.
Things to consider before uploading your selfie
Along with considering a flattering pose, filter and caption,
individuals should pay close attention to the background of the
image. Things such as client details, client files, confidential
documents, and information of interest should remain absent from
your self portrait. As an employer, you should have a social media
policy in place that touches upon the taking of selfies at work.
While your employee may be the one posting the photo, as an
employer you may still be responsible for any breach of privacy or
Also, while you're keen to share your news, make sure there
is no adverse consequence arising from such disclosure. For
example, an early disclosure of an invention or innovation may
prevent you from obtaining registered rights.
The above examples are an important reminder that social media
posts are instant and have the potential to reveal more information
than originally anticipated. While the disclosure may be
inadvertent, today's customers are not so forgiving and your
reputation and relationship with customers could be adversely
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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