Qantas’ legal risk of using Social Media

Written on Thursday, 22 August 2013 by Chris Vo

Last week we discussed how Commbank leverages the values and benefits of social media, this week I’ll identify some of the legal risks of using social media applicable to Qantas and discuss what the Aussie airline company’s Social Media Policy should address.

Image by wordpress
Here I will list the top five risks of using social media relevant to Qantas:

1. Reputation management

“social media is your greatest reputation risk because it is trusted, immediate, global and forever.” – Geoffrey Stackhouse

This quote is most relevant to Qantas as a competitive airline company. Social media has the power to quickly transform a company’s reputation on it’s head by creating negative publicity. For instance, if a customer posts an inappropriate comment on Qantas’ twitter page and a Qantas representative responds to the comment in a negative manner.

2. Security Issues

There is always the risk of having hackers, data or identify theft, spyware and bugs which could potentially ground Qantas for good. With this in mind, there’s also the risk of leaking confidential information about the company.

3. Engaging in two-way dialogue and potential criticism

While there are some happy customers there are always the risk of dissatisfied ones ready to voice their criticism onto Qantas social media platforms.

4. Trust as part of the culture

There needs to have visible level of trust for Qantas employees to be able to use social technology successfully. If there is no trust as part of the culture of the organization, then this could pose as a risk to social media for Qantas.

5. Wasting company time

It can be addictive and easy for a Qantas employee to be at risk of spending too much time, compromising their work efficiency and thus the organization’s business operations.

So I have just stated Qantas’ risks associated of using social media but how should they address these risks so they are dealt with in a timely manner? Below are the Social media policies in which Qantas should adopt:

  1. A communication approval process involving senior level management to control defamation from affecting the airline.  Don’t allow new front-line employees full control as their lack of experience could cause irreparable damage.
  2. Work with the IT department or hire a professional to ensure proper privacy and security settings are in place.  This essential policy will ensure that the protection of confidential information are in place to avoid falling into the wrong hands of a cyber-thief.
  3. Carefully monitor the social media platforms such as twitter and Facebook to quickly identify negative feedback and address it before it gains support.
  4. Create an extensive training program highlighting the do’s and don’ts when using social media platforms. This is most applicable to all staff who are representing on behalf of Qantas. They need to be aware of how to conduct themselves appropriately while connecting with their customers.
  5. Monitor what website employees visit and how much time they spend on them.  If an employee isn’t as productive or spends too much time procrastinating from work, have human resources pep talk with that employee on how to use their time on social media effectively.

For an example of a social media policy, here’s a short,concise and to the point example by ABC©.
Want to know more about proactive measures of using social media? Watch this intuitive video below (thank you human services for allowing me to share this)

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  1. Anonymous |

    Hi Chris,

    Great post! My recent post was also on Qantas but mainly targeted at their reputational risks of implementing social media. Feel free to have a read of mine:

    I also love how you recommended social media policies for Qantas to implement. Did you know that they hired 4 social media managers to monitor their activity on the web? In the past a pornographic image was uploaded on the fb Qantas page and was left up for several hours due to it being posted in non office hours, resulting in Qantas dealing with a lot of drama.

    They also recently ditched their Twitter presence, how do you think this will affect them?


  2. Chris Vo |

    Hey Izaaz,

    I was going to post up a short case scenario from 2010 which involved a flight that had its engine blown on the way from Jakarta to Singapore and as a result one tweet from a witness had caused 200 million people to think that the plane had crashed. In the end, the plane safely emergency landed in Singapore in one piece according to a tweet from a passenger onboard. Qantas at the time did not clarify any of the rumours that had been spread nor did they keep curious followers informed of the situation.

    Now that you've mentioned that their pulling out of Twitter, I don't think this is a good move for Qantas. It's crucial for them as seen in the case I've just mentioned why it's important to clarify any rumours to maintain their reputation. They will lose the benefits of being online and the ability to connect with customers, thus damaging their reputation immensely.

    I actually did read about the pornographic incident on their Facebook page. A very slow reaction on Qantas' behalf.

    Thanks for your comment!

  3. Olumayowa (David) Omotoso |

    I quite concur with your idea about trust. the employees have to have a high level of trust to act responsibly on Qantas social media

  4. Anonymous |

    Hey there Chris! Great post!
    I have a question that i want to ask though.
    In your opinion, if Qantas decided to block off all social medias in their workplace that is not related to work. What would be the impact of it?

  5. Della Febryna |

    Hi Chris!
    I could conclude that the social media policy you suggested is mostly focusing on training the Qantas' staff in order to use social media in a proper way, am I right?
    I agree with you because that is one crucial factor for the sake of Qantas' image. Good employees, good company :D
    great pose by the way!


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