Bank’s Social Media Policy Says Snitch & Spy on Your Friends or You’re Fired

Social Media Policy
Commonwealth Bank
December 1, 2010

1. Introduction
The ever-changing and inherently public nature of online communication presents a range of challenges to the Group in safeguarding our commercial activities, our brand and reputation, our customers and, more importantly, the security and safety of our employees.

We recognise that you will use social media channels outside work time in a private capacity. However, such use can still have an impact on your employment. You are required to act in the Group’s best interests at all times and this extends to your participation in and use of social media channels.

2. What are social media channels?
Social media channels include social networks, video/photo sharing sites chat rooms, online forums and discussion groups, wikis, blogs, micro-blogging tools, and any other web sites that facilitate the publishing of user generated content (e.g. tumblrs). These channels offer individuals the opportunity to connect with people, create and share information and ideas, and develop relationships through online communities and networks.

3. Private use of social media channels
You must not allow any use of social media channels (such as Facebook or blogs, etc.) to have an adverse impact on your work.

You are reminded that you should not have any expectation of privacy when it comes to content and information stored or posted in the social media environment. Even if you intend to keep the information private, it may unintentionally enter the public domain. For example, online content may inadvertently be viewed or accessed by your colleagues, the media or customers. Inappropriate content and information stored or posted in the social media environment, which is capable of being connected to the Group, may adversely affect the Group’s brand image and customer expectations as well as your own reputation.

As a general rule, you should be guided by your common sense and not display or post any information that may damage the Group in any way.

In particular, you must not use social media channels to:

  • comment on, post or store any information about Bank related matters (including without limitation, information about dealings with customers, the terms and conditions of your employment, other employees or contractors and information about the work being performed by the employee);
  • disparage or speak adversely about the Group, its customers, employees or contractors (including supporting others who do this by associating with them online);
  • post or disclose information belonging to the Group (this includes any information relating to customers) which is not otherwise publicly available.

We also recommend that you remain aware of your personal online reputation, security and safety at all times. You should be aware that, even when not discussing Group related matters, if you engage in inappropriate conduct it may still have an impact on your employment with the Group.

4. Material posted by others
Inappropriate or disparaging content and information stored or posted by others (including non-employees) in the social media environment may also damage the Group and its reputation. For example, your friend could post an inappropriate comment about the Group on your Facebook page or create a blog about the Group.

If you become aware of any such material you should immediately notify your manager and the Media & Communications team via email on You must also provide the Group with all reasonable assistance in relation to any investigation into such material and in relation to the removal or deletion of such material.

5. Using social media channels for Group business
The Group views social media channels as increasingly important communication and engagement tools in our interactions with customers, stakeholders and online communities. Social media channels present the opportunity to enhance the Group’s customer relations capabilities and the chance to listen and, where appropriate, engage in meaningful conversations with our customers and communities of interest.

You must not at any time purport to speak on behalf of the Group through social media channels without the express prior approval of the Media & Communications team.

If you do identify yourself as a Group employee (or are identifiable as a Group employee) you must make it clear that you don’t speak on behalf of the Group.

The Group’s Media Policy provides a detailed overview of those people authorized to represent the Group in social media environments and it is important you understand and have proper authorization before participating in this capacity. You can contact the Media & Communications team via email on if you are unsure of how these apply to you.

6. Breach
Failure to comply with this policy is a serious disciplinary matter and may result in disciplinary action being taken against you, which may include termination of your employment.

7. Miscellaneous
This policy may be subject to change from time to time at the Group’s discretion. It does not form part of your contract of employment or any industrial instrument that applies to you.

This policy is effective from 1 December 2010.

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